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South Park Creators Renew at Comedy Central

After weighing offers to go to the more conservative broadcast networks, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are sticking with Comedy Central.

At a press conference in Santa Monica, Calif., last week, Comedy said it had closed a multimillion-dollar, three-year exclusive development deal with Parker and Stone that includes the pair doing 30 new episodes of South Park, as well as a new live-action series for the cable network.

The pact-which will keep Parker and Stone at Comedy through August 2003-has the South Park pair doing a new series for the cable network, possibly a political satire, to debut in 2001.

The contract also includes ongoing series development and a partnership agreement with Parker and Stone concerning the syndication of South Park, in which they will share in the back-end. The network plans to attempt to syndicate the series during the next few years, and Parker and Stone will get a piece of the profits generated.

Comedy will also have "first-look" rights to content Parker and Stone develop for Macromedia Inc.'s Shockwave Web site, according to Ray Solley, the William Morris agent who was part of the team that negotiated the deal for the South Park creators.

Parker and Stone were reportedly courted by NBC and Michael Ovitz's new company before deciding to stay with Comedy.

"For the past three years, we have been exceptionally lucky to have our show on a network that respects creative freedom," Parker said in a prepared statement. "We've realized it is this freedom that has made us happiest. That's why we decided to stay with Comedy Central."

According to published reports, Parker and Stone will get $500,000 to do each new South Park episode, which puts just that part of the development deal at $15 million over its term.