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TCA: Disney Junior Network Launch Date Announced

The 24-hour kids channel will replace SoapNet on March 23.

A launch date for Disney Junior, the 24-hour kids channel that will replace SoapNet, has been set: March 23, 2012.

Programming on the channel will include Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, along with new animated series Doc McStuffins, short-form show A Poem Is ... and a block of movies during the weekends, Magical World of Disney Junior, it was revealed during the Television Critics Assoc. press tour on Monday. Additionally, Gaspard and Lisa and Guess How Much I Love You will be among the programs broadcast.

Disney Junior will premiere its first TV movie, Sofia the First, about a little girl princess, and Oki's Oasis, with Mandy Moore providing the voice of Oki.

The channel is also planning to roll out interstitials in between programming spotlighting characters from the Disney archives, including Sebastian and Flounder from The Little Mermaid, Mrs. Potts and Chip from Beauty and the Beast and Lucky and Pepper from 101 Dalmations.

Catering to the kids 2-7 demo, Disney Junior was first introduced as a programming block in February on the Disney Channel.

"This marks the beginning of a sea change in the 'preschool plus' television landscape. The response to our Disney Junior programming block has been extremely positive from both our affiliate partners and our viewers’ parents," said Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channels Worldwide, in a statement.

The Disney Junior channel will be readily available through cable and satellite providers, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, among others.