Last week, the Walt Disney Company officially announced plans to spend more than $50 billion to buy much of 21st Century Fox. The sale will include Fox’s movie and television studios, various cable channels, a stake in streaming service Hulu, regional sports networks, international networks, and more. The Fox television network, Fox’s owned-and-operated TV stations, cable channels Fox News and Fox Business, and other assets are not part of the proposed deal.
Many articles and reports about the sale have focused on the current movie and TV shows Disney will acquire from Fox. The original Star Wars is a big one, plus the Planet of the Apes, X-Men, and Avatar franchises. On the television side, Disney will get current shows like Modern Family, This Is Us, The Simpsons, and American Horror Story.
But Disney is buying the massive movie and television libraries owned by 21st Century Fox as well. That means Disney will end up owning both the movie MASH and the television series M*A*S*H. Disney will also get AfterMASH and unsold pilot “W*A*L*T*E*R,” plus Trapper John, M.D.
Changes in Store for M*A*S*H?
If the sale goes through and Disney takes ownership of M*A*S*H, what does that mean? Nothing is likely to change in the short term. I’m not a lawyer but presumably Disney will be bound by existing syndication deals. So, M*A*S*H will continue to air on cable channels like TV Land and SundanceTV, plus broadcast diginet MeTV.
Likewise, I suspect the individual season DVD sets will still be available. It would be nice if Disney opted to re-release the Martinis and Medicine Complete Collection, which has been out of print for years.
Could Disney decide to remake the movie MASH or reboot the TV series? Maybe, but if Fox hasn’t done it yet, why would Disney? Let’s be honest: M*A*S*H isn’t one of the big reasons Disney is willing to spend so much money. It’s also unlikely Disney will spend the time and money to remaster M*A*S*H in high definition.
What About Streaming?
Ever since M*A*S*H left Netflix in April 2016, fans have been wondering if the series will join some other streaming service. There were reports that M*A*S*H was coming to Hulu this summer but it didn’t happen. Disney will own a majority stake in Hulu if it buys Fox. Does that increase the odds M*A*S*H will eventually stream on Hulu?
Or is M*A*S*H destined for the streaming service Disney plans to launch in 2019? We’ll have to wait and see.
Hit the comments with your reactions to Disney potentially owning M*A*S*H.