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Simpsons World vanishes, taking every episode to Disney Plus

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That was sudden. Expected, but sudden.

Homer Simpson, firing a shotgun as terrified bystanders flee, in an effort to market the bowling alley where he works (And Maggie Makes Three, season six, episode 13)
Bowling! Bowling here! Get your bowling! Who’s ready?! Bowling!
20th Century Fox Television/Disney

And just like that, Simpsons World is no more.

FX Networks said this would happen once Disney Plus launched, and that happened on Tuesday, making full episodes of The Simpsons’ 31-season run available there. That mooted Simpsons World, which launched in 2014 and was available through a mobile app and a variety of streaming services.

So what’s the big deal? Well, obviously Disney Plus is a premium service ($6.99 a month/$69.99 a year), whereas full episodes on Simpsons World was accessed with a valid cable TV subscription and login. (Clips and classic moments were available to anyone.)

Moreover, as we’ve pointed out, the episodes are shown in a 16:9 aspect ratio only, with options for viewing them in their original 4:3 perspective (1989 to 2009) coming later. Also, The Simpsons on Disney Plus doesn’t have any bonus features, such as audio commentary from the Fox-published DVD sets.

This is all part of Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox and Fox Television (but not Fox News Channel), a $71.3 billion deal that took effect March 20. Disney Plus, which includes original live-action series like The Mandalorian, launched on Tuesday with a massive back catalog of Disney and Fox’s most popular franchises, both TV and film. It’s Disney’s skin in the over-the-top streaming service game, so of course it’ll be the exclusive home for The Simpsons as much as it is for Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel.

Correction: A previous version of this story (and its headline) incorrectly said all episodes of The Simpsons’ 31 seasons are now on Disney Plus. That’s actually not true. 1991’s “Stark Raving Dad,” which guest-starred Michael Jackson, isn’t on the service. Disney pulled the show from syndication and streaming services before the launch of Disney Plus. It’s the only one of the 662 that isn’t available.