It seems safe to say at this point that we will never, ever be free of South Park. The groundbreaking Comedy Central animated series, which first premiered way back in 1997, had its moment of cultural relevance in the early 2000s but has lingered far past the point of making any kind of modern impact. That hasn’t stopped creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone from making truly ungodly amounts of money off the continuation of the franchise, however, and this deal puts all previous ones to shame: MTV Entertainment Studios and parent company ViacomCBS (owners of Comedy Central) have signed Parker and Stone to a new deal that runs through 2027, paying them $900 million for both five more seasons of South Park and an astounding 14 South Park movies to stream on Paramount+.
The near BILLION dollar deal will keep South Park airing new episodes on Comedy Central at least through season 30 in 2027, as the show duels it out with The Simpsons to see who can keep going longer with nothing left to contribute to the world of comedy. The massive deal, however, also highlights the oddity of the fact that all these 14 films will premiere on Paramount+, but the entire series is instead streaming on HBO Max, as is the original feature film, 1999’s South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. ViacomCBS made a deal with HBO to exhibit those properties there back in 2019, but you have to wonder if they’ll want them back after committing nearly a billion dollars to Parker and Stone.
Regardless, the world has actually been pretty light on South Park for the past year due to the pandemic, which shut down South Park Studios. The interruption has resulted in only two new “pandemic specials” that aired during this period, but ViacomCBS is clearly anticipating being able to get quite a few animators back to work in the near future. Animators may continue working from home, as they did in producing the pandemic specials. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the plan is to debut two films in Paramount+ per year, for the next … sigh … seven years.
“Comedy Central has been our home for 25 years and we’re really happy that they’ve made a commitment to us for the next 75 years,” said Parker and Stone in their satement. “When we came to ViacomCBS with a different way to produce the show during the pandemic, Chris (McCarthy), Nina (Diaz), Keyes (Hill-Edgar) and Tanya (Giles) were immediately supportive and enabled us to try something new that turned out to be really well received. We can’t wait to get back to doing traditional South Park episodes but now we can also try out new formats. It’s great to have partners who will always take a chance with us.”
That’s all well and good, but do any us really need any more South Park content of ANY kind at this point? Much less another seven years of it? Kids who were once barred from watching South Park by their parents in the late 1990s will have their own grandkids to neglect by that point.