The foul-mouthed kids of Comedy Central’s long-running South Park
series will hit broadcast airways sometime in 2004 or 2005 after the cable
network Wednesday licensed the show's syndication rights to distribution company
The series -- the highest-rated series on Comedy in each of its seven seasons
-- is one of the few original basic-cable shows offered into syndication,
although representatives from the network and Dembar downplayed reports that the
show could fetch as much as $100 million in the syndication market.
Comedy president and CEO Larry Divney said the animated skein, which
surpassed 100 episodes earlier this year, should draw significant attention
within the syndication market. "This is a strong product that has done well for
us and should have a lot of legs in syndication," he added.
Divney would not reveal specifics of the deal, nor how much of a cut the
network would receive from syndication sales.
Dembar president Mort Marcus also would not comment on whether the show would
be sold to major station groups on a cash or barter basis.
Divney said most of the edgy show's episodes will not have to undergo
"massive" editing for syndication distribution, but a few of the more
controversial episodes would not be included in the package. "I’d say 85% of the
[episodes] can air without any editing," he added.
Although stations will most likely elect to air South Park episodes
after 11 p.m., Marcus believes it will still reach its target male 18-34
Nevertheless, Divney said the show may not gain distribution in more
conservative markets. "It’s possible that there could be certain markets that
may believe it’s too hot to handle," he added.
Divney also doesn’t believe the added exposure will hurt South
Park’sappeal on Comedy. "We think the brand is strong and it’s
repeat viewing for most of the viewers who watch it on Comedy Central," he said.
"I think the brand is so strong that [syndication] won’t hurt