3:58pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'South Park's' $500M Library Lands at HBO Max
South Park has a digital home.
HBO Max has landed the massive 23-season library to the Comedy Central hit South Park in a deal that was expected to be worth as much as $500 million.
Under the pact, announced Tuesday during WarnerMedia's formal HBO Max unveiling, the forthcoming streamer will have exclusive domestic rights to the Trey Parker and Matt Stone animated hit. The deal also includes the previously announced three more seasons of the series, which is produced by South Park Digital Studios — a joint venture between Comedy Central parent Viacom and Parker and Stone.
South Park will begin streaming in June 2020. New episodes will debut on HBO Max an impressive 24 hours after each episode premieres on Comedy Central, which marks a deal structure similar to the ones broadcast and cable networks have at Hulu and brings more urgency to HBO Max for cord cutters. The agreement means South Park will no longer stream on Hulu as of next summer.
"South Park is unequivocally among the best — setting the satirical gold standard, with a consistent finger on the comedy pulse,” Kevin Reilly, chief content officer at HBO Max and president at TBS, TNT and truTV, said in a statement. "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."
The deal represents the latest massive library pact for HBO Max, with South Park joining Friends and The Big Bang Theory on the service. Unlike South Park, Friends and Big Bang Theory were produced by Warner Bros. TV. South Park, which was taken out into the marketplace by Viacom, represents a key sign that WarnerMedia plans to compete not only for titles it previously produced (like The West Wing, which is moving over from Netflix) but also hits from outside studios. The agreement also raises questions about Viacom's streaming plans as its deal with CBS is expected to close in December. As part of that mega-merger, Viacom will inherit 5-year-old streamer CBS All Access, which could have picked up South Park for that subscription streaming service as a move of corporate synergy.
South Park has been the No. 1 primetime cable comedy series among young adults for the past six years. It will join an animation library at HBO Max that includes The Boondocks, Robot Chicken and more.
Library titles continue to remain in high demand as the streaming wars kick into high gear with four new services set to launch in the next six months. Disney+ and Apple TV+ are set to arrive in November, while NBCUniversal's Peacock and HBO Max are slated to debut in April and May, respectively.