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NEWS ROUNDUP: Disney Prefers Preschool To Soaps, EMPIRE To Hamptons, OWN Woes

Farewell to Disney's SoapNet, Home of Time-Shifted Soaps and '90210' Reruns
"SOAPnet was created in 2000 to give daytime viewers the ability to watch time-shifted soaps, before multiplatform viewing and DVRs were part of our vocabulary," said a Disney spokeswoman. "But today, as technology and our businesses evolve, it makes more sense to align our content and its distribution with a preschool channel that builds on the core strengths of our company."

SOAPnet's successor, Disney Junior, will expand on the preschool-programming block currently on the Disney Channel, targeting 2- to 7-year-olds with cartoons such as "Sofia the First" and "Doc McStuffins." It won't run traditional commercials, but Disney hopes its new focus will give sponsors a more compelling opportunity to target a lucrative demographic: moms.

Soap Hampton: EMPIRE Shoots Season 4 On Location
Don’t count the soap opera out just yet. The genre is, in fact, alive and well — and it’s living on the Internet.

EMPIRE is an on-line series created by Brian Hewson and Greg Turner — two NYU grads who met at college and were inspired to try their hand at producing their own soap opera.

“Soaps were always on in my house,” says Hewson. “My relatives all watched them and as a teenager, I began watching GENERAL HOSPITAL. That was my show and that’s what inspired me to want to do this.”

“We both always wanted to write for soap operas, but it’s kind of hard with them disappearing,” he adds. “There’s not a lot of openings, so we thought, ‘Why not try it ourselves?’ We started in ’09 and right around the time we did it, it blew up.”

R.Kelly's 'Trapped In The Closet' opera returns
The R&B star will release new episodes of the complicated soap opera later this year.

Misha Collins returns to SUPERNATURAL-- with a twist!
Collins returns as a healer, who Dean enlists to help Sam through a mental break. And while the healer has more than a resemblance to Dean’s angel bestie, he has no recollection of Castiel’s time with the boys. So is it Castiel? A doppelganger?

Where did THE RIVER go wrong as a TV series?
"The follow through was a huge disappointment, despite the fact that the show often had moments of sheer brilliance, scary tension, and serious, eye-widening intrigue."

Oprah Winfrey Calms Nerves With OWN Town Hall
Oprah explained that OWN had a duty to the board of directors to justify how much the network was spending, in light of anemic ratings and problems with advertisers. She said the fiscal year for OWN ends on March 31, and she had to get OWN's financial house in order before April 1 -- or else the entire network would be in jeopardy.

Diners near Harpo Studios say business is hurting
Restaurateurs say they're still suffering from business lost when Oprah Winfrey ended production of her talk show last year at her studio in what is today a trendy West Side neighborhood.

A look at Doctor Who’s new leading lady Jenna-Louise Coleman
Coleman is probably best known for her part in ITV soap EMMERDALE, in which she played teenage lesbian Jasmine Thomas.

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