A scant two years after buying several of the most watched and celebrated adult animation series on the planet, Disney has decided to give this whole “cartoons for grown-ups” thing a real shot. Cartoon Brew reports that the multi-tentacled entertainment conglomerate has just re-launched an exclusive adult animation division, tasked both with maintaining the series it swallowed up during its purchase of Fox back in 2019—including The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, and American Dad—and developing new ones. The “new” division (now officially branded “20th Television Animation”) is essentially a re-branding of the old Fox Television Animation that used to oversee all these shows in the pre-merger days, albeit with a new mandate to operate independently, get out there, and find the next The Cleveland Show for the world to fall in love with.
All of this is being headed up by new division head Marci Proietto, one of those former Fox executives who survived the transition into the Disney hierarchy, and whose credits include basically every major animation show Fox has run for the last near-30 years. And despite the fact that this news originally broke just two days before Disney announced it was killing off one of its self-produced animated shows—the Kristen Wiig-starring Bless The Harts—Proietto dubbed the current environment “a boom time in adult animation and I’m excited to continue to build on the leadership of this studio with this new production unit laser-focused on growing our roster of successful animated series.”
Animation has been one of the few areas of the entertainment industry not especially hampered by the COVID-19 lockdowns, since pretty much all of its major features involve isolating yourself in some sort of booth or another, away from the harsh light of day. That probably helps explain Disney’s latest push into the field—or, at least, its acknowledgement that, having accidentally become basically the leader in prime-time adult animation, they might as well try to get something out of it.