According to The Hollywood Reporter, Comedy Central’s irreverent, animated social satire, South Park, is finally going to be syndicated in fall 2005. The trade reports that the Emmy-nominated series has been cleared in 85% of the nation by Tribune Ent.
The cash plus 90-second spot barter deal will see South Park carried on Viacom, Tribune, Weigel, Belo, Scripps-Howard, Cox, Clear Channel, Raycom, Sinclair and Meredith stations, including New York’s WPIX, Los Angeles’ KCAL, Chicago’s WCIU, Philadelphia’s WPSG and San Francisco’s KBHK.
TBS recently struck a ratings bonanza by airing syndicated episodes of HBO’s racy adult comedy series, Sex and the City. While the show is still a solid performer for the cable network, ratings have dipped and many suspect that audiences are being turned off by efforts to clean up the laffer’s liberal use of profanity, nudity and frank sexual references. South Park, which is now in its eighth season on Comedy Central, will also be under stricter broadcast standards and practices when it goes to network television, especially in light of the FCC’s recent efforts to crack down on content deemed to be indecent.
South Park remains Comedy Central’s top-rated show and the growing popularity of late-night, adult-targeted animation has also meant big ratings for Cartoon Network and Spike TV. NBC hopes to bottle some of that ratings magic this fall with the DreamWorks-produced CG comedy, Father of the Pride, which is being hyped as "Not you kids’ cartoon." CBS and ABC are also expected to seek out edgy animated properties to compete with Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, which has stolen a sizeable chunk of the key male 18-34 demographic from network gabfests such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live.