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The Bear, a comedy-drama series from FX Productions, starring Jeremy Allen White as a young fine-dining chef who comes home to run his family's sandwich shop in Chicago, debuted its first season on Hulu in the United States on Thursday, June 23, 2022 and received critical acclaim.
In Canada, the first season of The Bear is now available to stream on Disney+ under the Star hub, as of Wednesday, August 3, 2022. Note that only the first two episodes were released on Disney+ on that date; the remaining first-season episodes were added weekly on Wednesdays through September 14.
Per the page linked above, the second season of The Bear will be available starting Wednesday, July 19, 2023, about a month after its U.S. release on June 22. Again, we expect Disney+ to release these episodes weekly in Canada.
As Hulu is not available internationally in a manner authorized by its owners, FX had announced in May 2022 that The Bear would be available on Disney+ in most other countries, but the Canadian release was ultimately delayed compared to the United States.
As of this update in mid-2023, a subscription to the Disney+ streaming service costs $11.99 per month, or $119.99 per year (when billed annually), in Canada (both prices are before applicable sales taxes). The Star hub is included as part of Disney+ for all Canadian subscribers at no extra charge.
Why was there a delay to see this series in Canada?
Disney+ announced on Twitter that the first season of The Bear would debut in Canada on June 23, the same day as the Hulu release – however, that tweet was later deleted. It wasn't until July 11 that the service finally confirmed it would instead launch in Canada on August 3.
A similar delay arose for the second season, as discussed above.
Unfortunately, the reason for the delays isn't clear, and we have not had much success attempting to contact Disney for comment on such matters.
That said, this sort of delay is consistent with how many other "FX on Hulu" series have been handled in Canada since mid-2021. For example, the first season of American Horror Story spinoff American Horror Stories premiered in the U.S. in mid-July 2021, but did not arrive on Disney+ in Canada until about six weeks later in late August.
Our working theory is that in these cases, Disney wants additional time to properly translate the show for international markets – in terms of both subtitles and dubbed audio – which is not a concern for Hulu in the United States. (Even if Disney+ only released it in Canada ahead of other countries, they normally still want at least a French-language translation available.)
Will The Bear air on FX Canada or any other Canadian cable channel?
It's possible that may happen eventually, but it will not be any time soon. While some early "FX on Hulu" series debuted in this country on the FX Canada channel operated under licence by Rogers Communications, the majority of these pre-dated the launch of the Star hub on Disney+.
Since mid-2021, most FX series that debuted on Hulu in the U.S., like the aforementioned American Horror Stories, as well as Under the Banner of Heaven and Reservation Dogs, have debuted directly on Disney+ in Canada. To date, none of those programs have aired on FX Canada, FXX Canada, or any other linear TV channel in Canada.
Just to make sure I understand... this is a show for mature audiences, and it's on Disney+ in Canada?
Yes, and yes. The Bear is rated TV-MA (the equivalent to 18+ in the Canadian TV ratings system).
However, in most of the world (with the notable exceptions of the U.S. and Latin America), Disney+ is no longer devoted solely to family-friendly franchises – it now includes a range of programming for both family and mature audiences, from various subsidiaries of The Walt Disney Company. Following the acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox in 2019, these Disney subsidiaries include both FX and Hulu.
Most of this mature programming is under a hub (or tile) called "Star", repurposing the brand name of a broadcaster serving Asia also owned by Disney (and not to be confused with Starz, an unrelated service that operates in Canada through a partnership with Bell Media / Crave).
Since launching Star, Disney+ has regularly reinforced the availability of parental controls to help ensure that mature content would not be visible to young children, or indeed anyone else with a restricted profile.
- June 25, 2023 – updated to indicate announced Canadian premiere date for season 2
- August 3, 2022 – updated to reflect availability on Disney+ as of today
- July 12, 2022 – updated to reflect Disney+'s re-announcement of upcoming Canadian availability
Thanks to reader Doug L. for emailing a question that inspired this post.