Red alert! Fox Corporation, the parent company of the Fox network and Fox News, is currently engaged in a $1.6 billion legal battle with Dominion Voting Systems that could potentially destroy the entertainment titan and bring an end to The Simpsons as we know it.
The Dominion suit alleges warped priorities led Fox News to amplify defamatory and highly illogical claims regarding the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, causing “diminution of enterprise value” for the electronic voting machine manufacturer. Text messages and emails gathered from Fox News employees in discovery were recently made public, exposing management’s reluctance to reign in their defiant fleet of star anchors, including Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, lest the network incur the wrath of conservative viewers. Rupert Murdoch, one of the founders of the news channel, privately admitted “maybe Sean and Laura went too far” in letting their impulses drive coverage.
Fox News has long been a ratings crusher and cable star dating back to its launch in 1996, but times are changeling. Data shows traditional linear television is in steady decline as more people cut the cord, and any resistance to this trend is likely futile. After the election, Fox News’s monthly ratings fell behind its longtime nemesis CNN for the first time in decades, a stunning feat suggesting the normally unphased network may need to augment its programming strategy in order to cling on to as many viewers as possible. The next generation of competitors, a pack lead by Newsmax, threatens to beam away Fox’s fracturing audience by catering to a menagerie of Q supporters and other fringe groups. Although it remans the number one news network, the primary directive for Fox News will be to try courting the pro-insurrection crowd while not alienating mainstream conservatives or advertisers, a balancing act of terrific sensitivity that could develop into a no-win scenario. Adding to the chaos, lobbying chief O’Brien departed the company earlier this month, leaving Fox without the experienced Washington voyager as it potentially enters a strange new world of tricky political terrain.
The fate of The Simpsons is greatly linked to Fox’s fortunes, as it is reliant on the network bearing the costs of its production. I’m no diviner, but if Fox News falls into darkness and Fox Corporation suddenly finds itself strapped for cash, the animated series could be headed to the great beyond. Disney purchased the motion picture studio behind The Simpsons from Fox in 2019, so under the rules of acquisition they would have the option to take it elsewhere or make it a Disney+ original series, were the Fox network to cancel the show. However, The Simpsons has enjoyed a long and prosperous life on Fox, a historical feat unlikely to be replicated, and if that day comes the crew may simply decide it’s a good day for the series to die.