Disney May Soon Own M*A*S*H


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.

4 Replies to “Disney May Soon Own M*A*S*H”

  1. “Disney’s M*A*S*H.” I cringe just thinking about it.

    You know, Walt himself was a visionary pioneer in many areas of entertainment: storytelling, animation, television, theme parks, what have you. And he also advised other producers and creators to never sell out and to always fight to protect what you created, because other companies out there may try and take it away from you.

    And that’s exactly what the company he left behind is guilty of. I mean look at all the properties they’ve snatched up over the years: Pixar, Muppets, Marvel, now 20th/21st Century Fox . . . how long before Disney owns our souls? They’re really a power hungry conglomerate thriving on corporate greed. It’s hard to imagine this company was grown by a man who was always interested in trying new things, not about owning every single piece of property known to man.

  2. While I agree with BDOR that the Disney empire is getting a bit ridiculous, I don’t really care all that much that Disney will own M*A*S*H mainly because it really doesn’t mean anything for M*A*S*H. We were already supposed to get M*A*S* on Hulu this year, but clearly didn’t. With Disney will we now get it? Or will it show up on Disney’s new streaming service? It’s too early to say.

    As for it being in syndication, as RJ pointed out, that will likely still happen.

    In short, Disney owning M*A*S*H will either be a little good as far as accessing it just more of the same.

  3. I would like to see “M*A*S*H” return to regular TV as a sitcom, but not as a reboot using the same characters. Keep it set in the Korean War, but not set in the 4077th unit… Instead use an entire NEW unit. As a throwback or tie in to the series original run this unit would have mentions and/or dealings with the 4077th… like their company clerk on the phone with Radar or Klinger, patients being transferred to or from the 4077th, mentions of Hawkeye or Potter, etc.

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