‘South Park’: The Pandemic Almost Ended the Show, Trey Parker, Matt Stone Say

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone signed a $900 million deal with ViacomCBS in 2021. That keeps South Park on Comedy Central through 2027 which will be its 30th season, with more specials on Paramount+. However, at the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, they thought that might really be the end of South Park.

South Park boys roast marshmallows over a campfire
L-R: Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman | Comedy Central

In a recent interview with The Los Angeles Times, Parker and Stone discussed the past and future of South Park. Parker revealed that he thought they would not be able to continue making the show during lockdown and quarantine. Fortunately, “The Pandemic Special,” “Vaccination Special” and Season 25 aired on Comedy Central plus four more specials on Paramount+.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone always cut it close on ‘South Park’

It only takes South Park six days to make an episode from beginning to end. That means they start pitching and writing on Thursday, and deliver the episode to Comedy Central on Wednesday. That allows them to be as topical as addressing current events from the week before. 

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It also means they cut it really close to airtime. Once, a Tuesday night power outage prevented them from completing an episode and Comedy Central had to air a repeat. This was also all contingent on the entire South Park crew being in the same office. 

The pandemic made Trey Parker fear for ‘South Park’

In the Times interview, Parker admitted he thought the pandemic would cancel the show. At the beginning of 2020, he didn’t know how they would continue South Park.

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It was the same as everyone,” Parker told the L.A. Times. “It was the first few months of the pandemic, and it was the first time we were going ‘Oh wow, maybe that’s just it.’ Matt was the first one to say, ‘This thing’s gonna go on a long time. Let’s just start figuring out how to do it from home.’”

Trey Parker and Matt Stone will never give up

If the pandemic can’t stop South Park, nothing will. Parker and Stone did have to postpone other projects during the shutdown, but Stone said he saw South Park as something they can always come back to. Just as they returned to the show after The Book of Mormon and Team America: World Police.

We always come back to South Park,” Stone. “It’s always there for us. We definitely want to go do other sh** in life, whether it’s creative or just travel or whatever. We always want to do a movie. But movies are so hard to get going. We did Broadway and that was an amazing experience. But then you come back, and there’s those four boys, and it’s like we don’t have to go into startup mode.”

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