Yesterday, Paramount announced a new South Park special called South Park: Joining the Panderverse that will stream on Parmaount+. This comes as it is still in the middle of a lawsuit with Warner Bros. Discovery over streaming rights to South Park.
Back in April, Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery sued each other over unpaid streaming rights for the show South Park. Warner Bros. Discovery reportedly owes Paramount $52 million for streaming rights to South Park. Warner Bros. Discovery has reportedly refused to pay Paramount because it feels the contract was violated by Paramount+ releasing some South Park specials it feels should have been exclusive to Max.
Warner Bros. Discovery sued Paramount first over the specials, and Paramount also filed its own lawsuit over $50 million in unpaid royalties for South Park episodes.
“Warner Bros. Discovery has indefensibly refused to pay the more than $50 million dollars it owes for South Park content that it has undisputedly received and which HBO Max continues to air and exploit,” a Paramount spokesperson said in a statement to Variety. “Warner Bros. Discovery’s argument that Paramount Global was required to deliver additional South Park content is baseless and wholly unsupported by the parties’ agreement. Furthermore, it certainly does not justify WBD’s refusal to pay for immensely valuable content all of which it has received and from which it continues to profit.”
Cord Cutters News reached out to both Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery about this new special. Warner Bros. Discovery sent back the same statement that was released earlier about the lawsuit. “We believe that Paramount and South Park Digital Studios embarked on a multi-year scheme of unfair trade practices and deception, flagrantly and repeatedly breaching our contract, which clearly gave HBO Max exclusive streaming rights to the existing library and new content from the popular animated comedy South Park”
(HBO Max at the time.) The main issue here is South Park specials are streaming on Paramount+, not Max. The argument by Paramount is these specials are not a part of the deal with HBO Max, as it belives the contract only covers the regular season episodes are. Max argues these specials should have been streamed on its streaming service, not Paramount+, as it believes its contract includes specials.
At issue here is the idea that Max has rights to all of South Park’s new productions. Paramount is arguing that they only have rights to regular episodes, not specials. Max wants access to all South Park content, even the specials.
Warner Bros. Discovery has stopped paying Paramount the $25 million it is owed every quarter for South Park content. Paramount has continued to supply South Park episodes to Max even though they are not being paid.
Now both sides are getting ready for a court hearing and have filed new briefings. According to Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount+ is deceiving customers by advertising Paramount+ has South Park. Paramount countered again, saying Max only had rights for TV episodes, according to a Deadline report. As best we can tell no date has been set for when the trial over these lawsuits will happen.
For now, we will have to wait and see how this fight plays out for now though South Park will continue to stream on Max as this works its way through the courts.