It's the start of a new fall TV season, but it's looking like fans of Sons of Anarchy, The Simpsons, Glee and other Fox and FX shows may not be able to buy them over iTunes. While the iTunes Store has plenty of links for upcoming seasons of ABC, NBC, and CBS shows (not to mention the many cable networks), Fox and FX are conspicuously absent — though older seasons of shows from both networks are still available. Fox is also missing from the iTunes Store's network listing on the right side of the store layout — another bad sign for fans of the network. While it may seem unlikely that Apple would stop selling new shows from one of the biggest networks around, there's precedent for such a decision — NBC was absent from iTunes back in 2007 due to a monetary dispute.
Word of Fox and Apple's dispute appears to have surfaced thanks to Kurt Sutter, creator of Sons of Anarchy. According to information we received from a tipster as well as posts on an Apple support forum thread, Sutter posted a scathing blog post in which he said that his show was unavailable on iTunes because Apple wants all networks to remove any "identifiers" or watermarks of their logos from the files customers download. Fox refused, and now the newest seasons of its shows are not available over iTunes. Unfortunately, Sutter's blog post has since been deleted — though he does mention an "iTunes snafu" on his Twitter feed and urged fans to download the show from Amazon in the meantime.
WIthout a definitive statement from Fox or Apple, we can't say for sure that all of Fox and FX's new seasons will be kept off iTunes — but Sons of Anarchy is already underway and the season premiere is not available. It's certainly looking like fans will have to take their business elsewhere, at least for the time being. There's a huge monetary incentive for both companies to work out their differences. We've reached out to Apple, Fox, and Sutter himself, and will update here with any information we receive.
Update: A source familiar with the matter has informed us that discussions between the parties are in progress, and that new Fox and FX content is expected to be available on iTunes in the near future.
Update #2: Well that didn't take long. As one of our commenters points out below, the premiere for the fifth season of Sons of Anarchy is now available for purchase on iTunes. The new seasons of several Fox programs, including Glee and The Mindy Project, are now listed as well.