Paramount Global and WarnerMedia are duking it out in a lawsuit over South Park streaming rights.
The battle for South Park’s streaming rights is raging on as Paramount Global has more than stepped up to the plate to puff their feathers at David Zaslav’s Warner Bros. Discovery. A very sought-after piece of property, the long-running adult cartoon is now involved in a million-dollar lawsuit with the two companies lawyering up to duke it out. With the HBO-owning company not willing to ante up and pay Paramount Global the money that they owe, and in fact, suing Paramount for $200 million, the latter has struck back with a counterclaim of their own, alleging that WarnerMedia hasn’t made good on their licensing fees and have breached their terms.
According to Deadline, the lofty 59-page filing from South Park Studios claims that the unpaid fees soar well over $52 million to date, with that number going up by the day. To make matters worse, Paramount Global says that they haven’t yet “agreed” to give WarnerMedia further rights for South Park streaming as the company, according to Paramount Global, hasn’t made any moves to pay the money that they owe. With HBO Max’s shift to Max next month, and their hemorrhaging of money following the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, this lawsuit certainly doesn’t bode well for the company’s future.
For being a belly-busting satirical comedy series, the showdown that South Park is currently finding itself in is anything but with the streaming rights long been a point of contention. It all started back in 2019 when WarnerMedia signed on for a $500 million deal that would allow them the rights to the first 23 seasons of the Trey Parker and Matt Stone-created series. The agreement also gave them the rights to several upcoming seasons, with the company agreeing to pay to the tune of $25 million a quarter.
Things were, up until recently, going swimmingly between the two entertainment companies, but when WarnerMedia stopped cutting the checks earlier this year, all hell broke loose. This was in part due to a recent agreement that saw new episodes of South Park and several of the show’s spin-off films available for streaming on Paramount+. Now, with two places to catch the beloved show, WarnerMedia no longer holds the one destination for audiences to catch up with the goings on in the Colorado town.
Since premiering back in 1997, South Park has been a staple of Comedy Central’s lineup of linear programming, making it a hot piece of property in the streaming market. Following the lives of a group of elementary-school-aged friends, the adult animated series has left no stone unturned when it comes to who and what they’ll make fun of with episodes taking shots at Scientology and other religions, other countries, and celebrities, including Oprah and Meghan and Harry. It’s with this no holds barred attitude that the show has been such a major success, giving Parker and Stone the flexibility to create a franchise of jaw-dropping material.
Because it’s known for its shock-value moments of boundary-pushing material, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to us if there’s at least one episode centered around the current streaming scandal.