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Hulu gets 'South Park' for a mere $80 million

Published July 31, 2014 9:20 am

Television • Can you believe the animated series is about to begin its 18th season?
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Beverly Hills, Calif. • When the next batch of new "South Park" episodes premiere, you'll be able to watch them on Comedy Central. On SouthPark.cc.com. And on Hulu.

And they will be released on all three platforms at the same time.

Not only that, but the entire catalog of "South Park" — 244 episodes and counting — is now available on Hulu. When the new season begins in September, episodes will be available on Hulu and SouthPark.cc.com as soon as they finish airing on Comedy Central. And both sites will have 30 episodes available on a rotating basis.

"South Park" creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker signed a three-year deal reportedly worth $80 million with Hulu. They've come a long way since they were a couple of twentysomething unknowns cutting out paper characters for an animated series about foul-mouthed children.

"We definitely did not think we would be sitting here 18 years later, 17 years later, whatever it's been," said Parker.

(It's been 17 years — "South Park" debuted on Comedy Central on Aug. 13, 1997.)

"I think if you would have told us that," Stone said, "we would have been, like, 'Oh, man. That's so sad.' "

"I think you can probably go back and find interviews where we were, like, 'Well, it's not like we are going to do it when we are 40,' " Parker said. "So we've learned to not say that."

The world of television, video and the Internet has changed massively since then. Parker recalled when he and Stone made a deal to release the first six episodes of "South Park" on VHS.

"We were, like, 'Wow, it's so cool because now these six episodes that we made will be out there forever on VHS,' " Parker said. "And then that became DVDs, and that became the Internet. And it's just pretty crazy that, now, we are here talking about almost 250 episodes all this time later."

"South Park" originated with a five-minute video Parker and Stone made titled "The Spirit of Christmas," which was about a fight over the holiday between Jesus Christ and Santa Claus.

"And that VHS got copied and copied and copied and copied," Parker said. "It was so much like a viral video before anyone knew what that was. And we couldn't believe the viralness of it.

"Matt and I were suddenly going somewhere in New York, and people were going, 'Dude, you've got to watch this thing.' And we were, like, 'We made that.' "

Parker said he and Stone feel as if "South Park" is the band they've been a part of for 17 years.

"We go into the studio once a year, and we make an album," he said. "And each episode is a song. What we love about it is that we still write and direct every episode ourselves. … So it would be pretty jarring to live without it."

They recently returned to work on Season 18; it's scheduled to premiere on Sept. 24.

spierce@sltrib.com

Twitter: @ScottDPierce