SoapNet strips original

Talker sole first-run on cabler

HOLLYWOOD — SoapNet, Disney’s sudser-dedicated cable network, will strip its sole original show, weekly half-hour mag “SoapCenter,” starting this summer.

Cabler also plans to move production of the show, which debuted when the net did in January 2000, from its Gotham base to Los Angeles. New York-based True Entertainment will no longer produce the show; SoapNet has not yet determined which company will take over production.

SoapNet also still is deciding what time the show will air when it goes five days per week.

Skein now is hosted by Tanika Ray and Peggy Bunker and preems Friday nights at 11.

Show ‘struck a chord’

“What we found with ‘SoapCenter’ is this particular mix of interviews with soap stars, behind-the-scenes looks at how the soaps come together, the historic looks and at-home visits with soap stars struck a chord with our audience,” SoapNet general manager Deborah Blackwell told Daily Variety. “It’s rated well, it tests well. It also barely scratches the surface of what there is to cover with that material. On a daily basis, we’ll have more time to go even more in-depth.”

After two years on the air, Blackwell said, it was time to give the show a tweak, and that moving the show closer to the network’s growing Los Angeles office also is important to nurturing the flagship show.

While no other originals are on the air, Blackwell said she does hope to add more going forward.

SoapNet, now in 22.2 million homes, began accepting paid advertising in September and closed the year 99.7% sold out. Net, part of ABC Cable Networks Group, launched a West Coast feed Feb. 4.

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