Box-sets of popular shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Scandal and others have recently been removed from NOW TV and Sky’s on-demand section, following the end of the contract between ABC Studios and Sky.
ABC is owned by Disney, and with Disney’s plans to introduce their own Video on Demand streaming service later this year, Disney+, speculation has been made that the removal of these shows has to do with Disney wanting to transfer their content to Disney+.
For the time being, some of ABC Studios programmes are still available as Catch-Up shows on NOW TV and Sky. Therefore, Grey’s Anatomy Season 15 is still available, but only until the end of June 2019. All past seasons of the show have been removed from the service.
There’s no word yet on whether Season 16, which is expected to debut in the fall, will be available on Sky and NOW TV – but there’s a good chance it will at least be available as a Catch-Up show, with only the most recent episodes available to watch for a limited time.
Customers of NOW TV who have taken to the community forum to enquire regarding the disappearance of shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Criminal Minds, have received this response from a member of the NOW TV team:
“As some of you are already aware, Sky has decided not to renew its box set contract with ABC Studios in 2019.
We’ll miss them all… BUT, we do have other great shows similar to Grey’s .. Check them out. The Good Doctor, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med (Coming in July) and The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair.
Similar answers were given by Sky and NOW TV on Twitter:
Hi Hazel All ABC Studio box sets will be leaving NOW TV. But you can still watch the most recent season of ABC shows such as Grey’s Anatomy live on Sky Witness and on catch-up, at the moment there isn't a date for this to return
— NOW TV Help (@nowtvhelp) June 3, 2019
Disney+, Disney’s upcoming streaming service, will launch in the US in November and will cost $6.99/month, or $69.99 a year. It’s expected to include most of Disney’s entertainment properties, films and TV shows alike, including ABC Studios’ shows.
In light of this new service, which will compete directly with Netflix (and NOW TV in the UK), Disney has been removing its content from rival services: All the Marvel movies will be leaving Netflix, for example, and the Netflix-Marvel TV shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, etc’) have been cancelled.
Meanwhile, new TV shows set in the Marvel cinematic universe are being made for Disney+ – one starring Tom Hiddleston as Loki, and another based on the Hawkeye character, with Jeremy Renner reprising his role.
Another highly-anticipated Disney+ show is a live-action Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian, which is described as “a thrilling spy series in the Star Wars universe”.
No word has been made yet regarding the launch date of Disney+ in the UK – therefore it’s possible we’ll have to wait a while before we get the ABC Studios shows back as box-sets – though some of them are still available on Amazon Prime Video and/or Netflix.