Disney retires Fox branding from assets, revives Touchstone name

Goodbye "Fox 21," hello "Touchstone Television."
(Image: Fox Corporation/Graphic: The Desk)

The Walt Disney Company is dropping the Fox branding from a number of film, television and studio assets acquired from the former 21st Century Fox Corporation.

On Monday, entertainment trade publication the Hollywood Reporter said Disney would drop the word “Fox” from distributor 20th Century Fox Television, shortening the name to simply “20th Television.”

The company is also renaming independent production company and distributor Fox 21 TV Studios to Touchstone Television, reviving the Touchstone branding that was quietly retired in 2007.

In addition to the name changes, Disney is folding its ABC Studios and ABC Signature Studios production companies into a single unit that will continue under the ABC Signature brand.

“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 Company,” Disney executive Craig Hunegs said in a statement. “We believe that with our powerhouse talent roster and exceptional studio teams, the best is yet to come.”

Disney acquired Fox’s film library, production company and distribution units for more than $70 billion, with the deal closing in March 2019. As part of the acquisition, Disney also acquired several Fox-owned cable channels, including FX, FXX, FXM, the National Geographic channel and regional Fox Sports channels.

As a condition of the acquisition, Disney was forced to divest the sports channels due to its controlling interest in ESPN, a 24-hour sports and entertainment network operated as a joint venture with Hearst Television. Disney sold the regional sports channels to Sinclair Broadcast Group late last year.

Following the acquisition, the newly-formed Fox Corporation continued to operate its broadcast and pay TV assets under the Fox branding, and there were no plans for a rebrand, executives said at the time. Fox Corporation operates the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox News and Fox Business channels as well as local television stations in 18 metropolitan areas and the free streaming service Tubi TV.

Disney has continued to operate the acquired cable channels with no changes in branding, though the company has increased synergy between the former Fox cable assets and its other services, including ABC News and streaming service Hulu.

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