South Park Tangled Up In Huge Lawsuit, Here’s What The Mess Is About

Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery are embroiled in a South Park lawsuit over streaming rights to the show, with each side accusing the other of trying to renege on the 2019 deal.

By Douglas Helm | Updated

south park season 24

Paramount’s South Park is no stranger to controversy, so you might assume it would be semi-controversial when you hear about a South Park lawsuit. Well, sorry to disappoint, but his legal mess is about some big corps bickering over the streaming rights of some long-running cable television comedy series episodes. Of course, hundreds of millions of dollars are on the line here, so let’s dive into it.

According to Variety, Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company of HBO Max, is filing a lawsuit against Paramount Global for breaching its contract for streaming rights to new episodes of South Park. The $500 million licensing deal made in 2019 gave HBO Max the rights to stream all previous seasons of the series and three new seasons. However, Warner Bros. Discovery’s suit alleges that seasons were expected to deliver around 10 episodes each, and Paramount has not met these expectations.

The South Park lawsuit filed by Warner Bros. Discovery further alleges that they only received two new episodes for the first season, six for the second, and an expected additional six for the third. This would be 14 episodes total compared to the 30 they were expecting. Essentially, the argument is that Warner Bros. Discovery had to pay more for the new episodes than they should have and that Paramount Global isn’t meeting the contract’s requirements.

Warner Bros. Discovery’s South Park lawsuit also includes some spicy jabs at Paramount, like “verbal trickery” and “grammatical sleight-of-hand,” with how Paramount was characterizing the new content. Warner Bros. Discovery alleges that Paramount avoided contractual obligations by labeling newly created content as specials or movies. Some specials that Paramount has run since 2019 include South Park: Post Covid, South Park: Post Covid: The Return of Covid, South Park The Streaming Wars Part 1, and South Park The Streaming Wars Part 2.

south park season 24
South Park

It’s worth pausing the legal speak to point out that some specials titled Streaming Wars are a point of contention for two giant companies arguing about their streaming services. Anyway, moving on. The team over at Paramount Global did not take the South Park lawsuit lightly and had some thoughts of their own.

Not only did Paramount deny the allegations made in Warner Bros. Discovery’s South Park lawsuit, but they also stated that Warner Bros. Discovery hasn’t been paying the licensing fees it owes. Spicy stuff here, folks. Paramount argues that they have been following the agreement and that Warner Bros. Discovery has not paid despite benefitting from the new episodes and streaming them currently.

Which is essentially the more professional way of saying “No, you.” Of course, we’ll likely have to wait and see what the courts rule about the South Park lawsuit because it doesn’t seem like these two will back down and settle out of court. So, what does this mean for the rest of us?

Pretty much nothing, except maybe you’ll have to buy even more streaming service subscriptions to get access to everything you want to watch. This South Park lawsuit shows that these streaming platforms can’t get along. Why can’t everyone just be friends (and stop raising the prices of streaming platforms)?