UPDATED with HBO Max assertion: They haven’t fairly killed Kenny, however Paramount International tonight took a tough swipe at Warner Bros Discovery over South Park.
In a daring jab again on the David Zaslav-run firm’s $200 million lawsuit over steaming rights to the long-running cartoon satire created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the Shari Redstone-run conglomerate simply filed a $50 million-plus countersuit in New York – they usually left nothing within the nook.
“By this Counterclaim, South Park Studios seeks to recuperate the entire unpaid license charges, totaling greater than $52 million to this point, primarily based upon WarnerMedia’s blatant breaches of the Time period Sheet,” the response and counterclaims doc says. “As well as, primarily based on WarnerMedia’s materials breaches of contract, and its indications that it’ll proceed to withhold the $225+ million in license charges nonetheless owed for the remainder of the five-year time period, South Park Studios is entitled to a declaratory judgment confirming the events’ rights and obligations underneath the Time period Sheet,” the dense 59-page submitting provides (learn it right here).
“Additional, WarnerMedia has given clear indications that it’ll not pay any of the remaining $225+ million in license charges nonetheless owed for the remainder of the five-year time period of the Time period Sheet,” the doc goes on to say. “Paramount International actually has not agreed that WarnerMedia can proceed to ignore its contractual obligations on this method.”
And, as humorous as South Park might be and company dust-ups can seem, this clearly is not any laughing matter — particularly as WDB prepares to launch its revamped Max streaming service subsequent month.
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“Warner Bros. Discovery has indefensibly refused to pay greater than $50 million it owes for South Park content material that it has undisputedly acquired, and which HBO Max continues to air and exploit,” a Paramount International spokesperson advised Deadline on Wednesday after the counterclaims and a rudimentary movement to dismiss hit the New York Supreme Court docket docket.
“Warner Bros. Discovery’s argument that Paramount International was required to ship further South Park content material is baseless and wholly unsupported by the events’ settlement,” the exec added. “Moreover, it actually doesn’t justify WBD’s refusal to pay for immensely worthwhile content material all of which it has acquired and from which it continues to revenue.”
An HBO Max spokesperson advised Deadline late Wednesday: “We consider that Paramount and South Park Digital Studios launched into a multi-year scheme of unfair commerce practices and deception, flagrantly and repeatedly breaching our contract, which clearly gave HBO Max unique streaming rights to the present library and new content material from the favored animated comedy South Park.”
A.Ok.A.: See you in court docket.
Within the meantime, let’s speak some pretty current historical past.
In 2019, the then-AT&T-owned WarnerMedia jacked up its streaming stock with a hard-fought $500 million deal to snag the 23-season previous run of South Park plus a number of new seasons. That settlement for round 300 episodes, which had been delivered nearly instantly, was to be paid in installments of about $25 million 1 / 4 – which it was, up till earlier this yr.
Throwing round accusations of “illicit conspiracy,” and “verbal trickery” on the a part of the Comedy Central father or mother firm, WBD asserted that in 2021 Paramount International, Parker and Stone’s South Park Digital Studios and MTV Leisure Studios drilled an enormous gap within the big-bucks 2019 settlement that will allow the Bob Bakish-led gang preserve the linear and streaming rights new seasons of South Park and round 14 “unique motion pictures” primarily based on the sitcom.
That $900 million “f*ck you-money” deal that ViacomCBS struck with Parker and Stone two years in the past put much more Cartman within the pipeline, and much more South Park coming down the road for the burgeoning Paramount+ streamer.
Now, nothing within the 2019 settlement specifies what number of episodes every future South Park season might or couldn’t be, well-informed sources inform us. Nevertheless, at this level, you might have South Park on two separate streaming platforms — each attempting to realize a strong foothold in a really crowded market, and each attempting to squeeze extra premium content material out of tighter budgets.
So, no matter is or isn’t in that much-celebrated deal of 4 years in the past, count on to see plenty of legal professionals make plenty of hay and — some huge cash. And that might make a terrific episode of South Park, on one streamer or one other.