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SOAPnet Feeling Young, Restless

3/16/2006 8:08 AM Eastern

Deborah Blackwell is a little less restless now.

The general manager of SOAPnet was ecstatic Thursday after the network secured same-day airing rights to top-rated soap opera TheYoung and the Restless from Sony Pictures Television.

The multiyear deal, terms of which were not disclosed, also gives SOAPnet -- which now holds soaps from all of the “Big Three” networks and the top-five most-viewed soaps overall -- the rights to archival episodes of the CBS series that can be used for stunts and specials.

“We’ve been talking about Y&R since I got here in June 2000, and the interest preceded my arrival,” Blackwell said. “This is the fulfillment of a goal since the network’s inception.”

Beginning April 24, SOAPnet will position Y&R -- which has been the soap leader in total viewers for 17 years (896 consecutive weeks) and is the leader among women 18-49 as well -- at 7 p.m. for its same-day weeknight airings.

The Y&R addition will result in a shift in the network’s evening lineup. NBC’s Days of Our Lives -- which SOAPnet also acquired from Sony in December 2003 and began airing in March 2004 -- will move to an 11 p.m. slot, while original series SoapTalk will move back one hour to midnight. The daily soap talk shows will also run at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., effectively bookending the day-and-date lineup.

SOAPnet’s current day and date weekday lineup -- which will continue to feature ABC series All My Children at 8 p.m., One Life to Live at 9 p.m. and General Hospital at 10 p.m. -- currently averages a 0.6 rating against women 18-49, seventh in all of basic cable, according to network officials.

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