For 26 seasons, viewers have watched “South Park,” which follows the antics of four boys in the quiet titular mountain town. The iconic animated sitcom is famous for its crude language and satirizing a wide range of pop culture topics, but it still came as a surprise when the show’s drama jumped from the screen to real life.
In a lawsuit filed by Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount Global is accused of breaching certain terms of the $500 million licensing deal made for the streaming rights to the “South Park” episodes in 2019. By directing “South Park” specials and other material for its own streaming platform Paramount+, the lawsuit alleges that Paramount breached the contract.
According to the lawsuit, Paramount committed “multiple and egregious misrepresentations of facts and breaches of contract” and “blatantly intended to support Paramount+ at Warner/HBO’s expense.” Paramount is the parent company of the former Comedy Central cable TV home of “South Park”.
WBD paid $1.6 million for over 300 episodes in a deal with South Park Digital Studios in 2019, however the company – which is a partnership between Paramount and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone – supposedly breached this contract by airing a number of South Park specials.
The deal was to bring the show’s entire back catalog to HBO Max by June 2025, along with the 30 new episodes from seasons 24 through 26. After its contract with HBO Max expires, “South Park” will stream exclusively on Paramount Plus as part of the agreement. Despite this, WBD alleges that it did not get what it paid for, stating that South Park Digital Studios overcharged for the 50-minute Pandemic Special and broke its promise to deliver 10 new episodes for each season.
The claim also criticizes the sizable $900 million deal that Paramount struck with the creators of South Park in August 2021, just months after Paramount+ premiered. Since then, the studio has produced a series of exclusive Paramount+ specials. The lawsuit alleges that, to evade its responsibilities under the 2019 deal, Paramount used “verbal tricks” and “grammatical sleight of hand”, referring to the new content as “films”, “films” or “events”. ” instead of “episodes”.
In 2021, Paramount+ aired a pair of COVID-focused specials — “South Park: Post COVID” and “South Park: Post COVID: The Return of COVID” — and last year, almost in anticipation of the upcoming lawsuit, the service was aired “South Park the Streaming Wars” and “South Park the Streaming Wars Part 2”.
Warner Bros. Discovery maintains that, despite their runtime, these specials should have been included in their contract, and even if they weren’t, Paramount was circumventing the spirit of the deal to undermine its value.
In response, Paramount denied the allegations. “We believe these claims are without merit and look forward to demonstrating that through the legal process,” Paramount Global said. “We also note that Paramount continues to fulfill the parties’ agreement by delivering new episodes of South Park to HBO Max, despite the fact that Warner Bros. Discovery has failed to pay license fees it owes Paramount for episodes that have already been delivered and that HBO Max continues to air.”
With the future of “South Park” streaming in doubt, we’ve put together a list of where you can find all of the content from the series, as well as other titles from Parker and Stone’s team.