Warner Bros. sues Paramount Plus for ‘stealing’ South Park episodes


South Park is at the centre of a court case (Picture: Comedy Central/ Warner Bros./ Paramount)

South Park is at the centre of a tug-of-war after Warner Bros. have sued Paramount Plus for allegedly illegally holding onto new episodes.

Back in 2019 HBO Max and its parent company, Warner Bros., signed a $500 million (£418,532,650) licensing deal for the streaming rights to the long-running animation series.

The suit, which was filed on Friday, claims that Paramount breached the contract by steering South Park specials and other content to its own platform.

It alleged that Paramount ‘blatantly intended to prop up Paramount+ at the expense of Warner/HBO’ and that Paramount engaged in ‘multiple and flagrant duplicitous contortions of fact and breaches of contract’.

‘Warner/HBO brings this lawsuit to vindicate its rights and recover the hundreds of millions of dollars in damages incurred as a result of Defendants’ misconduct,’ the documents also read.

When the contract was signed four years ago, AT&T, the parent company of Warner Bros. Discovery, was gearing up to launch its HBO Max streaming platform and signed the ‘exclusive streaming rights’ to South Park.

The series follows five children and their bizarre adventures (Picture: Comedy Central)

However, the lawsuit said that when they bid on the rights, it did so with assurances they would also be getting three new seasons of 10 episodes each.

But the company claims only two episodes were delivered for the first season, and only six for the second.

HBO Max has said the third season will also consist of six episodes, adding up to a total of 14 over three seasons, rather than the 30 they believed they had agreed upon.

The lawsuit also alleged that new episodes are more valuable than old ones and therefore it believes it overpaid for the library.

In 2021 MTV, a Paramount subsidiary, also announced a $900 million deal with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for exclusive content.

The lawsuit said that after this deal was signed, Stone claimed they had ‘f*** you money now’.

It also poked fun at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle a recent episode (Picture: Comedy Central)

HBO Max has also argued that the deal diverted content that should have fallen under the 2019 contract, and that Paramount engaged in ‘verbal trickery’ to characterise their new content as ‘movies’, ‘films’ or events’, but not ‘episodes’ to avoid its obligations under the 2019 contract.

Under the MTV deal, Paramount Plus have received 14 ‘made for streaming movies’, four of which have already been released.

Paramount is reported to have already denied the allegations, and instead accused Warner Bros. Discovery of failing to pay the license fees that it owes under the agreement, according to Variety.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker.

The animation series was created and written by Matt Stone and Trey Parker (Picture: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

‘We believe these claims are without merit and look forward to demonstrating so through the legal process,’ they told the publication.

‘We also note that Paramount continues to adhere to the parties’ contract by delivering new South Park episodes to HBO Max, despite the fact that Warner Bros. Discovery has failed and refused to pay license fees that it owes to Paramount for episodes that have already been delivered, and which HBO Max continues to stream.’

It’s been a big week for the show after it generated plenty of headlines after taking aim at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in episode The Worldwide Privacy Tour.

While there were reports the episode had ‘upset and overwhelmed’ Meghan and that the couple were threatening to sue the creators of South Park, a spokesperson said it was ‘frankly nonsense’.

First airing in 1997, there have now been over 300 episodes of South Park to date.

Metro.co.uk has contacted Paramount Plus and Warner for comment.

South Park is streaming on Paramount Plus.

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MORE : South Park savagely rips into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle branding them ‘dumb and stupid’

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