The creators of “South Park” backed out of a more than half-billion-dollar deal with HBO and its parent company to sign a more lucrative deal with Paramount to become the streaming service’s flagship show, a lawsuit brought by Warner Bros. In Manhattan you claim.
HBO Max, whose parent company is plaintiff WarnerMedia Direct, says it has offered several competitors a contract with South Park Digital Studios (SPDS) in 2019.
Warner Bros. claims That deal, worth more than $500 million, was announced to great fanfare on Comedy Central’s websitegiving them exclusive streaming rights to the entire library of the series, as well as three new seasons.
Then, the company claims, Paramount hatched a plan to lure the “South Park” franchise to the new streaming service — avoiding the series’ contractual obligations through a “campaign of verbal deception.”
“To achieve this, Defendants used grammatical sleight of hand, describing the new content as ‘movies’, ‘movies’, or ‘events’ for the side step of SPDS’s contractual obligations,” the suit states.
The defendants are Paramount Global, South Park Digital Studios and MTV Entertainment Studios.
By 2021, HBO says, “South Park” has not delivered any of the 22-minute episodes for Season 24 that were promised under the agreement. Paramount announced the launch of its streaming service early that same year.
Less than six months after Paramount+ launched, an executive discussed a plan to “help feed” the platform through “South Park” and said, “[f]Ranching marquee content is like South Park…in the heart [their] strategy to continue Paramount+’s growth,” according to the lawsuit.
Warner Bros. says: Paramount affiliate MTV has announced a deal with “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone on August 21, 2021.
The suit states, “As Stone publicly described it, ‘We have money now.'”
For Warner Bros. The deal hinged on a rhetorical insult to distinguish Paramount content from HBO exclusives.
“Specifically, MTV publicly announced that under the Paramount+ deal, 14 movies intended for streaming (as opposed to “episodes” or “events”) will be shown on Paramount+, starting with “two movies” in 2021,” the lawsuit alleges.
But Warner Bros. It claims that these “films” were “substantially similar” to “Pandemic Specials” provided to HBO as licensed content.
“The four episodes featured iconic characters from the previous 23 seasons of South Park, dealt with similar subject matter (COVID), and had similar running times (approximately 50-60 minutes per episode),” the lawsuit says.
“Incredibly, this was not the defendants’ only duplicity regarding post-COVID content,” he continues. When MTV and Paramount+ announced post-COVID content, they initially described the episodes as “movies.” However, when The WB pointed out that exploiting movie sequels to South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut required written approval from The WB under a 1998 agreement MTV, regarding information and belief, in coordination with Paramount and SPDS, changed its characterization of Post-COVID content from “movies” to “events.”
Those included the “big” pandemic specials titled “Streaming Wars Part 1” and “Streaming Wars Part 2”.
Warner Bros. claims in damages of more than $200 million for five-cause actions related to alleged breach of contract.
Paramount did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Read the lawsuit below:
Future teen idol. Typical social media ninja. Alcohol buff. Explorer. Creator. Beer advocate.”