With Trey Parker and Matt Stone continuing to branch out in the entertainment industry, it's not all that surprising to hear that, moving forward, South Park will be airing shorter seasons. But given the animated comedy series' lengthy run and the mentioned busy professional lives of its creators, a few less episodes is hardly terrible news by comparison to Stone and Parker being too busy to make the show at all, right?
Via EW, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are trimming down South Park's upcoming season from the usual 14 episodes - with two half-seasons of seven eps airing over the course of the year - to ten episodes, which will not be broken up, according to what Stone told the NY Times.
“Why did we do seven and seven to begin with? We just sort of made that up. And we are switching to 10 for the same reason. It just sounded like a good number, and we won’t break up the year so we can more easily do other stuff … In our first season, you had to show up on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on the comedy channel to catch the show. Now, I don’t even know where or how people watch our show. We sort of don’t really care about ratings. It’s more important to come up with work that will add to the library in a way that we’re proud of and will make people want to catch the show wherever they want to.”
It sounds like the decision is based on what works for Stoke and Parker and their busy schedules. And given their other responsibilities, which include starting their own studio (and eventually, a Book of Mormon film!), it's understandable that their schedule might not allow for two half-seasons per year. My optimistic approach to this news is to say, better a few less episodes than no South Park at all. It sounds like Viacom (Comedy Central's owner) feels the same way. President of Viacom Entertainment Doug Herzog said, "We’re happy to take as many or as few as they can produce. Frankly, I’m surprised it took them this long to get to a schedule like this.”
South Park's 16th season wrapped up last fall. Season 17 will premiere September 25, 2013.
With South Park renewed through 2016, fans no longer have to worry about the animated comedy returning to television. However, that doesn't necessarily determine the number of episodes we'll see. As co-creator Matt Stone revealed in a recent interview with The New York Times, South Park won't be getting the usual 14-episode order for Season 17.
Normally, South Park seasons are split into two, delivering seven episodes on each run. Now, though, the creators have decided to scale back and create ten episodes to air uninterrupted.
"Why did we do seven and seven to begin with? We just sort of made that up," Stone said. "We are switching to ten for the same reason. It just sounded like a good number, and we won't break up the year so we can more easily do other stuff."
While this decision may seem arbitrary, Stone explained that there's a reason behind cranking out these seasons all at once. "There is no appointment viewing anymore," he said. "In our first season, you had to show up on Wednesday nights at 10 pm on the Comedy Channel to catch the show. Now, I don't even know where or how people watch our show. We sort of don't really care about ratings. It's more important to come up with work that will add to the library in a way that we're proud of and will make people want to catch the show wherever they want to."
Added co-creator Trey Parker, "Now instead of putting out two albums a year, we are only going to do one, which is more manageable and ensures that it will be something we are proud of."
Along with this news, it was revealed that South Park: Season 17 has been delayed and won't begin airing new episodes until September 25 (as opposed to its usual spring start date).