Disney readies launch of soap opera channel

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Walt Disney Co.'s Disney/ABC Cable Networks division announced it will launch a 24-hour soap opera channel in the U.S. in mid-January 2000 for cable and domestic satellite distribution. The company tested the concept in Chicago and Houston last year. The yet-to-be-named service will feature same-day prime-time repeats of the four soap operas that now air on the ABC-TV network: "All My Children,'' "General Hospital,'' "One Life to Live'' and "Port Charles.'' The channel will debut ad-free until "we hit a critical mass of homes,'' according to a Disney spokeswoman. After the channel reaches that number - the spokeswoman declined to say what that number is--the channel will become ad-supported. Disney has not yet signed any cable operators to carry the new service.

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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