KEY POINTS

  • Disney has removed Fox from employee emails and is updating the studio logos, both set to debut in February
  • Disney is reportedly undecided about renaming the TV production studios acquired from the Fox buyout
  • Insider said decision was made to avoid confusion with Fox Corp. and distance the companies from the controversies surrounding Rupert Murdoch's company

Nearly 10 months after Disney bought 20th Century Fox film and TV studios from the Fox Corp. for $71.3 billion, Disney said Friday it would drop the Fox name from 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Studios.

The filmmaking operations will be known as 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Studios going forward.

Email addresses for employees reportedly already have been changed the domain names 20thcenturystudios.com and searchlightpictures.com. A spokesperson also confirmed Disney has started removing Fox from logos.

“Downhill,” starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell, will be the first film to debut the new Searchlight Studios logo when it releases on Feb. 14. “The Call of the Wild,” starring Harrison Ford, will debut the new 20th Century Studios logo when it releases Feb. 21.

Insiders told Variety the change was “inevitable” following the buyout last March. While Disney acquired the film and TV studios, Fox Corp. retained ownership of the broadcast arm that includes Fox, Fox Sports, and Fox News. It reportedly caused some confusion “at odds with the highly differentiated divisions” under Disney’s ownership.

Another insider said Disney wanted to keep itself distant from the controversies associated with Rupert Murdoch’s media giant.

“I think the Fox name means Murdoch, and that is toxic,” the insider told Variety.

No decision has yet been made about changing the names of 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television production studios although discussions reportedly are underway.

Fox News In this image: The Fox Network logo is displayed during the 2005 Television Critics Winter Press Tour at the Hilton Universal Hotel Universal City, California, Jan. 17, 2005. Photo: Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown