Warner Bros. Discovery has filed a lawsuit with Paramount for allegedly “stealing” South Park content. According to the company, it believes that it should have exclusive streaming rights to South Park. Warner Bros. Discovery believes that Paramount worked with South Park’s creators and its MTV division to “divert much of the new South Park content as possible” to Paramount Plus. As a result, the company ignored other streaming platforms in order to attract viewers to the platform.
The lawsuit is a strange one. Back in 2019, Warner Bros. Discovery paid $1.6 million for each episode of South Park in order to get the show into HBO Max. There were over 300 episodes as part of the deal which cost the company a lot of money. The deal was in partnership with Paramount and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
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Warner Bros. Discovery now claims that Comedy Central (owned by Paramount) “induced” South Park Digital Studios to breach the former contract with them. The original deal was meant to bring the show’s entire library, as well as 30 new episodes for Seasons 24, 25 and 26 to HBO Max. The deal would be valid until June 2025 meaning HBO Max would house South Park until then.
Since the contract was signed, Warner Bros. Discovery believes that Paramount failed to deliver this promise. In fact, the company says Paramount fell short of its promise to deliver 10 new episodes of the show each season. In addition, Paramount charged Warner Bros. Discovery extra for the 50-minute Pandemic Special episode.
Warner Bros. Discovery is also taking issue with the $900 million Paramount Plus deal. The deal includes that Paramount will exclusively stream South Park on its streaming platform after the HBO Max contract ends.
But it doesn’t end there. Since the contract was signed, South Park Digital Studios has gone off to create multiple spin-offs in the South Park series. This includes standalone episodes including South Park: Post Covid, South Park: Post Covid: The Return of Covid and South Park: The Streaming Wars Part I and Part II. Warner Bros. Discovery believes that these episodes should have been included in the original contract.
The company says that Paramount has used “grammatical sleight-of-hand, characterizing new content as ‘movies,’ ‘films,’ or ‘events’ to side-step SPDS’s contractual obligations.”
Paramount has commented on the lawsuit. The company says that HBO Max has refused to pay license fees that it owes the company for episodes already on the service. Even though the streaming platform continues to host the content.
The lawsuit will now investigate whether or not Paramount was in the wrong. Warner Bros. Discovery is suing for “significant monetary damages” which will be determined during the trial. You can read the full claim here.