Few would have guessed, upon its debut in 1997, that South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s crudely-drawn, foul-mouthed Comedy Central cartoon, would one day become perhaps Paramount’s most vital I.P. behind Star Trek. But in an “always on” streaming era, the show has become one of the most dominant animated series—beating out competitors like The Simpsons and Family Guy. With multiple movies produced per year, South Park isn’t fighting for attention in an overcrowded market; South Park guarantees an audience year after year.
The prowess on digital platforms is astonishing. More than 53 billion minutes of South Park were streamed in 2021, according to internal data viewed by Puck. These days, most new shows don’t make it past three seasons. But a long-running series that has a fortified fan base, the promise of engagement every day, and guaranteed new episodes to keep viewers satiated is perhaps the most valuable asset in media. Very few series fit that description, but South Park regularly accomplishes all three.