HBO Max’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, is suing Paramount(Opens in a new tab) for allegedly failing to honor part of their $500 million deal over the streaming rights to South Park, Variety reports.
The Warner/HBO and Paramount deal was sealed in 2019, when it was determined the popular animated comedy would stream exclusively on HBO Max. In 2021, however, MTV (a Paramount subsidiary) made a separate deal(Opens in a new tab) — for $900 million(Opens in a new tab) — with show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone for at least five more seasons of the show for Comedy Central, and 14 original movies for Paramount+. Four of those “movies” have already run on Paramount+: South Park: Post Covid, South Park: Post Covid: The Return of Covid, South Park The Streaming Wars Part 1 and Part 2.
HBO Max and Discovery+ merger may not happen as planned
Now, Warner/HBO filed a suit on Friday that alleges that Paramount undermined their deal in attempts to bolster their own streaming service. “When Paramount decided to launch a new streaming platform of its own (“Paramount+”), its priorities changed drastically,” the suit alleges, “and [Paramount] embarked on a multi-year scheme to unfairly take advantage of Warner/HBO by breaching its contract and stealing its content.”
A Paramount Global spokesperson told Variety:
We believe these claims are without merit and look forward to demonstrating so through the legal process…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.
South Park is currently airing on HBO Max for its 26th season, with Warner Bros. Discovery considering the show an “anchor” that’s “central to branding and marketing.”