Just a few weeks after finalizing the sale of its 20th Century Fox studios to Disney, the now-independent Fox network has already begun cutting ties with some of its former partners: THR reports tonight that the X-Men action-drama The Gifted and Lil Rel Howery’s first-season sitcom Rel—both produced at 20th Century Fox—have just become a casualty of the split.
Now, it’s possible that both of these series might have had the cancellation hammer dropped on them anyway—averaging about 2 million viewers apiece, they weren’t exactly burning up the charts with mutant action or Sinbad-heavy comedy antics—but it’s not hard to see the merger as a major factor in the decision. (It doesn’t help that Disney has been explicitly omnivorous about holding on to any and all of its Marvel TV content in recent months; see also everything that went down with Netflix and the Defenders mini-universe of shows.)
Which is a shame, because both series had their selling points and strengths; Rel might have been a little too enamored of the comic possibilities of a man living life after being cuckolded by his barber, but the cast—which also included Jordan L. Jones and Jessica Moore—wasn’t lacking in talent. (Not least of which was Howery himself, one of the best parts of Jordan Peele’s Get Out) And while The Gifted was both overly convoluted and sometimes needlessly soapy, well, heck, what more do you want from a relatively faithful X-Men show? (Meanwhile, its sort-of-sister series, Legion, is expected to continue on at now Disney-owned FX.)
It’s not clear if this is just the start of a wave of cancellations at Fox, or if new network head Charlie Collier—formerly of AMC—is just doing a little cleaning house. The network has previously stated that it intends to pivot toward more sports broadcasting, while keeping a heavy interest in animation, including 20th-produced shows like Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, and The Simpsons.