Big news in showbiz broke earlier this week with the announcement of the merger between Disney and 20th Century Fox. In a bold (and very pricy) move, Disney purchased huge chunks of 20th Century Fox for a whopping $52.4 billion. The deal will see control of Fox's movie and television studios shift to Disney, along with 22 regional sports channels and cable networks FX and National Geographic. Since Disney already owns one major broadcast network, it couldn't purchase a second, and so the Fox network itself was not part of the deal. Still, there are bound to be some very big changes in store for certain shows, for better or worse. Read on for five in particular that could be affected!
Fox got into the Marvel game in the 2017-2018 TV season with the series premiere of The Gifted, which follows a group of mutants in an alternate universe in which the X-Men left other mutants behind. The show has delivered the closest thing to a live-action X-Men series ever to hit primetime, but there haven't been any big names from Marvel's X-Men universe dropping in, and the ratings haven't been the highest. There was no guarantee that The Gifted would land a second season.
The Disney/Fox deal should be pretty great for The Gifted, as the merger means that the rights to the X-Men characters will all be held under one banner, and there's the potential for bigger X-Men names to pop up on the small screen. Disney also owns Marvel, which means that the company is highly motivated to keep The Gifted on the air. After all, Disney did reportedly step in to save Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from getting the axe after its last season. The Gifted could benefit immensely from the merger. In fact, the same can probably be said for FX's Legion now that Disney owns FX.
American Horror Story
Ryan Murphy's hit anthology series American Horror Story has been delivering scares on FX for seven seasons now, and the stories somehow get even more twisted year in and year out. Season 7 managed to tackle current events (sort of), feature Evan Peters as a number of different serial killers, shed a whole lot of blood, and microwave a kid's pet guinea pig to the point of exploding and splattering. Fans have come to expect gruesome goriness and genuinely unsettling episodes from American Horror Story.
Now that FX is owned by Disney, it's entirely possible that American Horror Story will be expected to tone down some of the legitimate horror. Other more adult series air on FX as well, but American Horror Story has the be the most extreme and un-Disney. Of course, Disney has already said that they don't intend to force any Deadpool movies to adapt to a PG-13 rating. Still, an ongoing TV series is very different from an occasional movie, and we'll have to see what happens.
Interestingly, The Simpsons made news almost as soon as the merger was announced when longtime fans realized that the show had managed to predict the Disney/Fox deal nearly twenty years ago. Those fans shouldn't worry about the future of The Simpsons on Fox either, as there's pretty much no way anybody at Disney or Fox would want to give the axe to a series that has been so successful for so long. Still, there may be changes in store to some of the Simpsons content.
Over the 29 seasons -- yes, 29 -- of The Simpsons that have aired so far, the show has poked gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) fun at Disney, and that may have to stop. Granted, The Simpsons also took frequent shots at Fox without any repercussions, but Disney is a different and much bigger animal. Family Guy has been known to air some Disney mockery as well. That said, not all of the two shows' nods at Disney have been negative. It should be interesting to see if and how the mentions of Disney are altered moving forward.
The Gifted may be safe from Disney due to its comic affiliations, but the same can't be said for poor Gotham. The show hails from DC Comics and features some of the biggest names in DC history, including Bruce Wayne himself. As the company that owns Marvel, Disney may not want to keep a DC series in primetime. Gotham wasn't exactly safe anyway, as the ratings have been distinctly less-than-spectacular through the fourth season. Fans had reason to worry about Gotham even before the company owning Marvel bought Fox.
Still, fans of Gotham shouldn't despair just yet. There's one big variable in play when it comes to Gotham, and that is the fact that Gotham is not actually owned by 20th Century Fox. Disney doesn't own Gotham and so can't make the decision to cancel it. Gotham is produced by Warner Bros. Television; if Fox wants to keep some shows that aren't owned by Disney on the airwaves, Gotham could survive to tell more stories about pre-Batman Bruce Wayne. Lucifer on Fox is in a similar boat, as it is a non-Marvel comic TV show owned by WBTV.
Live-Action Star Wars Show
Disney blew the minds of Star Wars fans back in November with the announcement that a live-action Star Wars TV show is finally going to happen. As the Star Wars TV shows so far have all been animated, this was very big news, especially since fans would undoubtedly love some Star Wars action between movies. That said, the show wasn't slated to debut until the launch of Disney's streaming service by the end of 2019. That announcement came before the Fox/Disney merger, however, and we now have to wonder if the plans for the live-action series will change.
There is now another major platform on which Disney could theoretically release a live-action Star Wars show rather than just ABC or a smaller affiliate, and releasing such a show prior to the launch of the streaming service could potentially motivate people to subscribe once the service launches. After all, The Clone Wars started on a network before moving to Netflix; perhaps a Star Wars live-action show could do the same thing. Anything can really happen at this point.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV news, and don't forget to check out our midseason TV premiere guide for everything you'll be able to watch in the new year. Our 2017 cancellation rundown will reveal what you won't be able to watch, and our 2018 Netflix premiere guide can help you plan your streaming schedule for the coming months.