Blackwell Exiting SOAPnet

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SOAPnet general manager Deborah Blackwell resigned that post and will leave the channel early next year, remaining as a consultant in the meantime until her contract expires.

Brian Frons, president of daytime, for the Disney-ABC Television Group, said the post will not be filled but that he will instead take over day-to-day operations for the channel.

Frons, who had overseen just daytime, added oversight of SOAPnet and Buena Vista Productions in May 2006, adding a layer of management above Blackwell at SOAPnet.

Frons' prominence at SOAPnet rose with the addition of original primetime series like General Hospital spinoff Night Shift and ratings-challenged Fashionista Diaries.

Before joining Disney, Blackwell had been a movie and miniseries agent at William Morris (1993-99) and before that had a development post at Hearst. She also headed Internet start-up MyHome.com between agenting and taking the reins at SOAPnet.

"The entrepreneurial environment of our early days is now different," Blackwell said of her departure. "There is an amazingly talented, hard-working and creative team at SOAPnet ... it just seemed like the best time to move on.”

Frons thanked Blackwell, citing the "distribution gains, original programming, acquisitions and the strength of SOAPnet’s brand"  under her tenure.--John Eggerton contributed to this report.

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