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The entertainment world is now definitely facing one of the biggest shake-ups in Hollywood's history, as Disney has finalized a deal to buy out the bulk of Rupert Murdoch's Fox empire for $52.4 billion. It's a massive shift that will have major reverberations for years to come, and while the film side of things is probably more exciting for fans who want to see Fox and Disney's Marvel franchises come together, the acquisition will also bring some big and interesting changes to television. Let's go over the major points below.
Disney is taking over the 20th Century Fox Television studio. When it comes to TV hits that both stand the test of time and also get viewers extremely excited in the moment, Disney's own ABC Studios hasn't exactly been bogged down, relying on medical hits like Grey's Anatomy and The Good Doctor, as well as broad and diverse comedies like black-ish. 20th Century Fox TV is as hit or miss as they come, admittedly, but is currently boasting hits like This Is Us, The Mick, The Orville and more. It will be interesting to see how heavily the Disney thought process will get worked into the studio's future output, especially for shows like the mutant-filled Marvel drama The Gifted. Plus, Disney's impending streaming service will now probably have access to TV classics like The Simpsons, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and M*A*S*H, to name a few.
Disney now owns FX and NatGeo. For years now, FX has been one of cable's best sources of intense, imaginative and emotional storytelling, and shows like Atlanta, American Horror Story, Legion and Better Things are far from the family-friendly content that Disney is known for. The company will likely want to keep the success train rolling without too much interference, and we're hoping this acquisition doesn't doom FX's in-development projects like Y: The Last Man, Mayans MC or Welcome to Night Vale, among others. As far as Nat Geo is concerned, I'd expect more Disney-produced documentaries to start showing up, and possibly a boost in scripted programming.
22 of Fox Sports' regional channels are part of the deal. While Disney isn't taking over Fox's spotlight sports networks, the company is taking over a host of Fox Sports' local markets, according to the L.A. Times. It might not sound all that enticing at first, but considering Disney presumably aims to make ESPN's streaming service the apex of sports streaming, this part of the deal could prove quite lucrative. While NFL content is likely off the table, games from major market teams like the New York Yankees could one day become standard programming for ESPN's streaming service, which would be a huge boon for both execs and fans who don't live where their favorite teams play.
Rupert Murdoch will retain control of Fox's broadcast channel and more. Just in case anyone thought Disney had taken over the entirety of Murdoch's empire, let it be known that the massive deal doesn't cover the flagship Fox network, Fox News Channel, Fox Business, or Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. That all makes sense, considering Disney would be on the verge of monopolizing the market with both Fox and ABC, as well as with ESPN and Fox Sports. So even though Disney will be behind some of the programming aired on Fox, the House of Mouse won't have a direct say in what goes to air. And to be expected, Disney also won't be involved with anything going on at Fox News.
If all goes well for viewers, we won't actually notice any of the above-mentioned topics, except to maybe remark that there's more quality control happening. Though Disney likes to keep its branding as crisp and clean as possible, we're thinking that will have to change once FX and Ryan Murphy's mini-empire join the fun. How absurdly amazing would it be to see an American Horror Story season based on a Walt Disney-esque figure revolutionizing the theme park industry?