Hope you’re not burned out on South Park just yet, because there’s about to be a whole lot more where that came from.
This morning, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone announced a brand-new deal extension with MTV Entertainment Studios and ViacomCBS Inc. that will bring the long-running series to a total of 30 years of programming and will result in one of the richest contracts in television history. That is an absurdly long amount of time for a single show to remain on air, especially while attempting to maintain anywhere near a consistent level of quality throughout. Godspeed, I say!
According to the press release, this deal will include five more seasons that take the show to season 30 as well as — get this — no less than 14 direct-to-streaming South Park spin-off movies that will release on the streaming service, Paramount+. Given that the terms of this agreement will pay Parker and Stone over $900 million, that probably explains why everyone’s so gung-ho about churning out as much South Park media as physically possible. Reportedly, their first movie will be “…set in the world of South Park that will debut some time before the end of the year.”
In a joint statement, Parker and Stone described their excitement about more South Park (and lots more money, too):
“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. 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.”
According to the release, the vaccination special episode from a few months back “…ranks as the #1 cable telecast of the year with nearly 3.5M total viewers across the night and The Pandemic Special, which reigns as cable’s #1 scripted telecast of 2020.” The numbers certainly seem to back up such a massive commitment to the series, as well as the Pandemic Special’s shiny Emmy nomination (the show’s 19th overall) for Outstanding Animated Program.
The Paramount+ Push
This is clearly a wholesale drive on parent company ViacomCBS’s part to boost subscription numbers for their new streaming service. Paramount+ boasts some classic and beloved films in their library, from the Indiana Jones movies to the Godfather trilogy to a whole host of Star Trek media, but otherwise their selections are still rather sparse. Bloomberg puts Paramount+ well behind its competition like Netflix and Disney+ and, in all honesty, the entire interface of the service has to be among the worst that’s currently available.
Needless to say, this is a pretty big gamble all-around but surely the number-crunchers are confident that the bottom line will come out in their favor by the end of this deal. Not to sound like a soulless robot, but South Park is a pretty valuable IP and it makes perfect business sense to exploit it to the max. Brace yourselves for a deluge for the next six years, fans!
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