UPDATE 10/29, 7:05 p.m. ET: HBO Max has signed an exclusive streaming rights deal for South Park.
Variety reports that the deal was worth more than $500 million.
"South Park is unequivocally among the best—setting the satirical gold standard, with a consistent finger on the comedy pulse," Kevin Reilly, the chief content officer at HBO Max, said, per Variety. "Audiences have connected with Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny – either alive or dead – for over 20 years, and we look forward to connecting these characters to new audiences on HBO Max."
See original story below.
According to Bloomberg, the creators of South Park and Viacom are shopping the 22-year-old catalog of the flagship Comedy Central series in a deal that they expect to net upwards of $500 million. Bloomberg clarifies that this deal would not allow the potential buyers to own the show, but rather it would simply allow them to license the series' backlog of reruns for the purpose of airing them in the U.S. over the next few years.
This bidding has reportedly piqued the interest of as many as half a dozen companies, though it would cost them more than twice the amount that Hulu plopped down four years ago to let you watch any episode at any time on their platform. While it's starting to get complicated as hell keeping track of all the streaming services that either currently exist or are on the verge of existing, Hulu is reportedly facing competition from HBO Max and Peacock (which are both set to launch in 2020).
Additionally, the $500 million price tag may seem exorbitant (and also representative of the high end of such a deal) but similar amounts of dough were previously shelled out by streamers for series' like The Office, Big Bang Theory, Friends and Seinfeld. Now one might point out that those were ratings juggernauts that were originally aired on broadcast networks, but the South Park library has a volume of episodes that now officially tops 300, and it also stands out as one of Hulu's most watched shows.
Bloomberg goes on to write that a huge library may seem like a bizarre thing to spend such a massive amount of money on, especially in an era where everyone seems so focused on original series', but they do their best to justify it in the interests of all those involved. Additionally, they report that Trey Parker and Matt Stone will get 50 percent of digital revenue from the show regardless of who buys it (Viacom gets the other half).