Good news fans of South Park. The Trey Parker and Matt Stone series has been renewed by Comedy Central through 2019. At this point, let’s just say it will be on television as long as the two creators want it to be.
Comedy Central announced this morning they have inked the show for a three-year deal to keep the series humming along, and hilariously offending any and everyone. The Parker and Stone duo will continue to write, direct and edit each episode.
“Nearly two decades later, South Park today remains as important and influential as any series on any platform and has become one of the most recognizable brands to ever come out of television,” said Viacom Music and Entertainment Group President Doug Herzog.
The deal cements South Park’s legacy as the longest-running primetime scripted series on cable. By the time 2019 is up, 304 episodes will have aired, across 23 seasons.
1997. That’ll make you feel old. I couldn’t even drive when South Park premiered. The next season is slated to premiere on September 16 for a ten-episode run.
Hulu and South Park
If the Comedy Central deal wasn’t enough, how does $192 million sit with the duo? That’s how much Hulu is coughing up to keep the series on the streaming service. The deal is an extension of sorts, working out to five years. Two are in the books, with the Comedy Central extension being paid by Hulu.
The money is a 50/50 split between Comedy Central’s parent, Viacom, and Parker and Stone. It is a remarkable shift. A digital streaming service is underwriting the production costs of a long-running cable show.
It also shows Viacom’s willingness to overlook traditional cable metrics. South Park ratings have fallen off, but the company has decided to ignore the metrics in favor of understanding the digital shift occurring.
We are in the age of content distribution. People are consuming entertainment in a host of new ways not even dreamed of when South Park first aired in 1997. On-demand, DVR, streaming services like Hulu and the list goes on.
For Parker and Stone, the deal shows the maturity of networks in embracing the shift.
“Digital now represents not only a real audience, real money, real competition and a real marketplace, but there’s finally an understanding that the business is going to have to rely on the talent community and the franchises that it has built and not on algorithms,” said Stone.
For Hulu, South Park is its biggest content investment yet. After the $160 million deal for Seinfeld earlier this year, securing South Park’s catalog is a nice feather in its cap to keep expanding its catalog of content.
Now, if the company could get some compelling original content, Hulu could take on Netflix.
For Trey and Matt? The hundred million dollars must be feeling damn good right now.