Disney kills off the Fox name: Conglomerate renames 20th Century Fox Television and replaces iconic title card that dates from the 1940s as it further distances itself from the Murdoch empire
- Disney on Monday finalized the name change for 20th Century Fox Television
- Company acquired most 21st Century Fox assets in 2017 for $71 billion
- Movie studio arm was already rebranded 20th Century Studios in January
- Now the TV arm owned by Disney will simply be known as 20th Television
The Walt Disney Company has purged the remaining Fox branding from assets it acquired in a 2017 deal, renaming 20th Century Fox Television as simply 20th Television.
It comes as part of a larger rebrand for all of Disney’s TV studios, with Fox 21 Television Studios renamed Touchstone Television and ABC Studios and subsidiary ABC Signature merging under the ABC Signature banner.
The new 20th Television logo will debut in new seasons of The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad and Bob’s Burgers, among others.
The move appears to be aimed at limiting confusion of Disney’s assets with Fox Corporation, which exists separately and owns television assets such as Fox Broadcasting, Fox Sports and Fox News.
Disney has renamed 20th Century Fox Television as simply 20th Television
‘Our new studio names and logos mark a new day for ABC Signature, 20th Television and Touchstone Television while honoring their rich histories and the creative power of the Walt Disney Co,’ said Disney TV Studios president Craig Hunegs.
The 20th Century Fox Television name dates back 71 years ago to 1949.
In 1989, it spun-off a ’20th Television’ division, mostly for syndication of various shows. Now the two divisions will merge under the ’20th Television’ banner.
Disney acquired most 21st Century Fox assets in 2017 for $71 billion.
In January, Disney renamed the movie studio arm as 20th Century Studios, which served to help avoid brand confusion with the Fox Corporation.
At the time, the move was viewed as a way to distance the Disney-owned assets from the Murdoch family-owned Fox Corporation.
Rupert Murdoch is seen with his sons Lachlan Murdoch (L) and James Murdoch (R) in 2016
The new 20th Television logo is seen above after Disney rebranded the unit on Monday
The original 20th Century Fox Television brand dates back 71 years ago to 1949
‘I think the Fox name means Murdoch, and that is toxic,’ one insider told Variety of the decision in January.
It’s unclear why Disney chose to go with the name 20th Television rather than 20th Century Television to mirror the change to the studio arm.
The well known logo and title card, which has the words 20th Television stacked above spotlights, will stay the same minus the excluded words ‘Century Fox.’
Lachlan Murdoch is now the CEO of Fox Corp. and his father remains the chairman.
James Murdoch last month resigned from the board of News Corporation, citing ‘disagreements over certain editorial content’ published by the media empire’s news outlets.
FOX: THE BRAND THE MURDOCHS BOUGHT AND ‘MADE TOXIC’
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. bought 20th Century Fox, an established movie studio formed in 1935 when Twentieth Century Pictures and the Fox Film Corporation merged, in the 1980s to add to his fast-growing media empire.
At the time, he owned newspapers in the UK and Australia and buying Fox put him in the foray of American film and television.
As part of the deal, he obtained a string of American TV stations.
Under his ownership, the movie studios continued to churn our blockbuster movies and the TV channels aired provocative entertainment shows.
The entire empire however took on a new form when Murdoch launched Fox News in 1996, favoring Republican politician candidates and pushing the boundaries of what had been responsibly reported on television in America.
Rupert Murdoch announced Fox News with Roger Ailes in 1996
Over the next several decades, as Fox News’ reputation for controversial, conservative news coverage spread, Murdoch became synonymous with it.
In a wider sense, News Corp. weathered scandals including the phone hacking fiasco in the UK which shuttered News of the World.
Ailes died in 2017 after being fired from Fox amid a string of sexual misconduct scandals dating back decades
Fox News soon became universally known as just Fox and the separation between the Murdoch’s entertainment and news divisions became less clear.
As he eyed a deal with Sky in Europe to bolster the news division, Disney – keen to broaden its entertainment footing with the growing success of streaming services – set its sights on the Fox brand’s entertainment divisions.
Around the time of negotiations, Fox News faced its biggest scandal to date; a series of high profile anchors and lower-level employees accusing Chairman Roger Ailes of sexual harassment and, in some cases, assault.
It emerged afterwards that Fox had not only paid settlements to some of his accusers, but that it had also done so for other distinguished male hosts like Bill O’Reilly.
The scandal erupted at the dawn of the #MeToo movement and made Fox one of the many corporate poster children for male misogyny.
It has since implemented a drastic overhaul and says it encourages safe and fair practices in the workplace.
In 2017, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to purchase most of the 21st Century Fox assets, including 20th Century Fox.
After fending off a competing bid from Comcast, Disney ended up paying $71 billion to get the deal done.
Immediately preceding the acquisition, 21st Century Fox spun off the newly formed Fox Corporation, consisting of the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Television Stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business, FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes, and the Big Ten Network.
In January 2020, Disney began to rebrand Fox’s studios to remove references to ‘Fox’ from their names, with 20th Century Fox being renamed ’20th Century Studios’, and Fox Searchlight Pictures being renamed ‘Searchlight Pictures’.
On August 10, 2020, Disney announced a reorganization and rebranding of its television studios, with 20th Century Fox Television being absorbed by 20th Television, and Fox 21 Television Studios being rebranded as Touchstone Television.
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