Erica Kane's airplane just took a nosedive on ABC's once-great, now-middling soap All My Children, but that's nothing compared to what's about to happen to the network's sister cable channel, SoapNet. It's going bye-bye. For good. And excuse the well-worn expression, but hell hath no fury like a soap fan scored. First, a bit of background: Parent company Disney just announced it will take over SoapNet's space on the TV dial with a 24-hour preschool channel. Instead of reruns of General Hospital and One Life to Live, viewers will be "treated" to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jungle Junction when the network transforms into Disney Junior in 2012. (Maybe it really is the apocalypse?) The bottom line for business, obviously, is that soaps are aging and dying (as are their fans—sorry!), and there's much more upside to a cable net dedicated to tots and their tchotchke-demanding ways. Inculcate them early, and they'll be Disnified for life, or so the thinking goes. Soaps, on the other hand, don't sell a lot of swag, even if you count the Erica Kane Barbie doll (yes, there is one). SoapNet, for its part, is trying to be upbeat about it all, with a chatty glass-half-full feature on its homepage. "You get 18 more months of SoapNet," it says, towing the company line. Fans, meanwhile, are having none of it. "I am totally disgusted and appalled by this decision," says one. "This bites," says another. Diehards are threatening to boycott Disney and/or start some viral campaign to keep the network. I hate to tell them they're probably swimming upstream, but go ahead and vent, fanatics. It might be more satisfying than counting the Lost rip-offs in All My Children.
—Posted by T.L. Stanley