Disney/Fox: In cable, it’s pleasant-but-tricky

The mega-gobble is complete now. One big movie studio (Disney) has swallowed another (Fox).

That leaves the TV end as a mixed bag. Rupert Murdoch still owns the Fox nework and several cable off-shoots in news, sports and business. But Disney gets the best things Murdoch owned – the various FX and National Geographic channels.

Those channels, incidentally, have two of the best new shows around — National Geographic’s stunning “Hostile Planet” and FX’s hilarious “What We Do in the Shadows.”

Talking to TV critics in February, Nat Geo chief Courteney Monroe even passed out copies of a 1963 National Geographic magazine story – a 50-page puff piece for Walt Disney. She discussed “how compatible the Disney and National Geographic brands are.”

That’s true, actually. TV rights to the splendid “Disneynature” movies – “Penguins” reaches theaters April 17 – were sold to Nat Geo, not to the Disney cable cannels.

Still, it’s tricky. Later that afternoon, Monroe was talking about “Hostile Planet” and said: “This isn’t a … Disney-fied version of it. It’s the real world.”

She immediately looked lik she wished she hadn’t said it. But a few minutes later, “Hostile Planet” host Bear Grylls was saying: “It’s not a fairy-tale, sugar-coated, nice Disney-fied ….”

He caught himself and asked: “What’s a better word?” He soon settled for “sanitized.”

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