While it may have once seemed improbable, The Simpsons are on the verge of becoming Disney characters. Last month, Disney and Fox reached a major milestone in their historic merger, and the deal is expected to close sometime in the first half of 2019. When it does, almost all of Fox’s entertainment assets, including The Simpsons, will fall under Disney’s control while the Fox network continues under its original ownership. But just because Fox won’t own the series doesn’t mean the network is finished with Matt Groening’s signature creation.
While speaking at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Fox CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman revealed their plans to keep The Simpsons on the network after the acquisition takes place.
“Simpsons is so much a part of the brand,” said Walden. “There’s been such an incredible halo effect of that show and the other animated series that are on our Sunday night. There are no plans for them to go anywhere other than Fox.”
“We have a couple years of episodes already in progress on The Simpsons. So down the line, what kind of decision is made I can’t really speak to.” Walden stated. “But for the foreseeable future, there’s so much upside and benefit to having a great Emmy Award winning, smart, provocative, quality show, that there’s no consideration of not ordering more Simpsons.”
Of course, with Disney’s purchase, they could try to move the long-running animated series to a network they own, such as ABC. But the Fox TV heads aren’t going to let such a major change happen without a fight.
“As long as we’ve all been in the business, networks have licensed shows they don’t have ownership of.” Walden continued. “The Simpsons generates lots of revenue and opportunities off network through consumer products and otherwise, and I feel confident that Disney and FOX are going to find a way to both have an interest in that show, and I anticipate it continuing to stay on the FOX network.”
The Simpsons 30th season is set to premiere on September 30, 2018 and if any changes with Disney in the meantime we’ll be sure to have you covered.