“The Simpsons” predicted its own takeover by Disney 20 years ago

A prophesy, foretold.
A prophesy, foretold.
Image: Fox
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Disney will acquire most of 21st Century Fox in a blockbuster deal worth $52 billion, the two companies announced today. Disney will get Fox’s TV and film studios, its cable TV networks (FX and National Geographic), and its stake in Hulu, which gives the Mouse House a controlling stake in the streaming service.

The deal will transfer the ownership of a number of popular films, television series, and character rights to Disney. Among those properties is the most beloved animated series of all time, The Simpsons.

And as it has often done, The Simpsons saw the big news coming long before anyone else.

In a 1998 episode of the series, “When You Dish Upon A Star,” The Simpsons joked that 20th Century Fox, the company’s movie studio, had fallen under the umbrella of Disney. A scene takes place at the Fox studio lot, where a sign can be seen that reveals the company is now “A Division of Walt Disney Co.”

You can watch the full scene here in Spanish. (The English version isn’t readily available online, but the prediction is a visual gag in the first seconds of the clip.) In the English version, director Ron Howard, voicing himself, goes to pitch a movie to his frequent collaborator, producer Brian Grazer:

The Disney prophesy is just one of several foretold by Matt Groening’s legendary comedy series. In 2000, for instance, the show predicted Donald Trump’s presidency.

The fate of shows such as The Simpsons is still to be determined. Fox will retain control of the Fox broadcast network (which broadcasts The Simpsons) but how the channel will move forward without the TV production company that fuels it is unclear.

It’s possible that The Simpsons, already renewed for at least a 29th and 30th season, could end up on a different network. That’s one development the show didn’t see coming.