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R.I.P. SOAPNet

I’ve never been big into daytime soap operas, minus the summer of my twelfth year, which I spent enthralled by Marlena on Days of Our Lives being possessed by the devil. After that, I never tuned in again – it’s a lot of work to keep up with a show that airs five days a week, where characters come and go and two-year-olds magically transform into high school seniors over the course of a month.

Nighttime soaps are a different story, and although some are almost as unrealistic as daytime soaps (hello, One Tree Hill), I have more patience for them. My favorite night soap of all time, Beverly Hills, 90210, had its crazy moments. Poor Kelly, for example, joined a cult (she escaped), had an eating disorder (went to meetings, recovered, and never spoke of it again), was addicted to cocaine (went to rehab, which is where she met her stalker), was burnt in a fire (which was the reason why she joined a cult), etc. But for some reason, I find myself able to tolerate these shenanigans when they happen just once a week.

That’s why I love SOAPNet. I watch it for the re-runs of 90210 and The O.C., but it also airs some current soaps and original series like Being Erica. Imagine my sadness when the news broke last year that SOAPNet is going to get the axe early in 2012. It won’t be revamped and turned into a similar channel; it’s going to be completely, absolutely, 100 percent different: it’s becoming Disney Junior, and will air shows like Little Einsteins and Handy Manny. While my friend’s two-year-old son might be overjoyed by this news, I am not.

When I heard the news, I kind of refused to believe it. I was convinced that SOAPNet’s demise just couldn’t happen. There had to be viewer outrage, and we all know that enraged people like to start petitions. But so far, it’s still happening.

Disney/ABC says that the lower ratings for soaps and the fact that you can watch shows on Hulu and other places online are reasons for the shutdown. I see where they’re coming from, because so many people do watch current shows online, but it makes me sad to know that I won’t be able to watch my old night soaps on TV anymore. 90210 and The O.C. are both available on DVD, but I don’t have the money to drop on the sets. I also don’t really feel like searching for these shows online, because it’s just not the same. I want to see Dylan’s sideburns on a 36 inch television, not a 13 inch laptop screen.

If this news upsets me, I’m sure it’s devastating to daytime soap opera fans. If I really want to, I can find episodes of The O.C. online, but it’s a lot trickier to find old episodes of All My Children. Maybe Disney and ABC execs will change their minds before January 2012. Or perhaps Disney will throw me a bone and find some way to fit 90210 into the Disney Junior lineup (yeah, right).

If I win the lotto, mark my words: I will start my own version of SOAPNet – maybe call it the Suds Channel? I like the sound of that.

By Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

4 replies on “R.I.P. SOAPNet”

This makes me sad as well.But I think soaps (at least the daytime ones) will be dead as the dodo soon. Being home sick on a weekday will never be the same – I still liked to check in on the gang at DOOL and over on ABC, OLTL and GH. And I LOVED the Marlena is possessed storyline back in the day. Such campy fun.

I was SO upset to hear about SOAPNet getting the axe. It’s my go-to channel on lazy Saturdays when I can’t find anything else to watch (I’ve seen just about every episode of The O.C, One Tree Hill, and 90210 more times than I care to admit). Plus, I am a loyal General Hospital viewer and while I usually just DVR it, there are occasional special reports that cause me to miss my daily dose of Jason Morgan. I always know that I can turn to SOAPNet for a replay that night or catch up on the weekend when they show a marathon. SOAPNet fills a void that no other station does. I mean really, do we need yet ANOTHER network for kids?

I love the Breakfast in Bed block of programing, and have spent many a lazy Sunday watching it! I would be really upset too if I was a General Hospital fan, for exactly the reason you stated: SOAPNet allows you to catch up on episodes you missed right away. There are always breaking news updates during the day that interrupt programing, and SOAPNet never has that.

Also, I personally think we have enough networks for kids, and this is coming from someone who relies on those channels while babysitting for her niece and nephew!

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