Disney’s acquisition of many of Fox’s assets will take several months to go through, but it is going to happen at some point. Looking at all of what Disney has (including the purchases of Marvel and Lucasfilm within the last decade), the acquisition of Fox is really a missing piece of sorts for the media conglomerate…if they handle the situation correctly.
Whenever the deal between Disney and Fox does happen, officially, the status of many hit shows under the Fox umbrella will be very much up in the air. Disney has long been a much more family-friendly network than most of the other networks and television stations like AMC and FX, but they have not had the gritty serious shows that are typically seen as the best.
Both currently and through the years, Disney has had shows that fans love. They get millions of viewers for all their primetime series, so it’s hard to argue with their results in that regard. But I’ll argue they haven’t had a “cult-like” show over the last several years (except for maybe Grey’s Anatomy).
Back in 1990, they had an extreme cult following with Twin Peaks on ABC, but I don’t think many could picture it airing on today’s ABC. And then there was Lost, which lived up to cult status from 2004-2010. People went nuts over the series finale of Lost, but since then Disney/ABC doesn’t have many moments where social media is buzzing like crazy over their shows.
Other networks, meanwhile, have collected rabid fans—even if there are less of them. FX’s American Horror Story, Fargo, American Crime Story, The Americans, and Sons of Anarchy all push past where Disney has gone with its television networks since 1990 with Twin Peaks. Those FX shows are more in line with the series offered by premium networks like HBO and Showtime than Disney’s current slate offered on its channels.
Disney acquiring Fox’s television and movie assets was the perfect play. Now Disney just needs to allow those assets, particularly in television, to remain what they’ve been over the last several years and they’ll have a chance at the best of everything.
A combination of Scandal, Dancing with the Stars, Modern Family, and The Bachelor/Bachelorette on ABC to go along with a more uncompromising channel that includes American Crime Story and some of the other current shows with the potential additions from a new Disney-led team and its other television properties like the for-kids Disney Channel would be very strong. It will allow Disney to more easily get into some more bold ideas and shows, with an eye toward the release of its streaming platform to rival Netflix.
There is major growth potential for Disney if they can sustain and exceed the standards set by FX; but if they go PC and turn the Fox properties into another ABC, most people might just stick with HBO for their television shows.