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'South Park' Rerun Rights Sold; Editing Is Planned

September 04, 2003|Sallie Hofmeister | Times Staff Writer

Will Cartman and Kenny be as appealing if their mouths are washed clean of four-letter curse words? Comedy Central thinks so.

The cable network has sold rights to sell reruns of "South Park," hoping to cash in on its most popular show, now in its seventh season. If Comedy Central succeeds, it would become one of the few cable channels ever to sell reruns to broadcast television. Until recently, cable channels didn't have the budgets to create broadcast-caliber programming.

Mort Marcus, a former syndication executive at Walt Disney Co., has bought the rights to "South Park" reruns for an undisclosed sum for his distribution company, Debmar Studios.

Marcus plans to "clean up" the show for broadcast TV, stripping the foul-mouthed third-graders who star in the animated series of at least some of their favorite swearwords.

Some potential buyers, however, say editing the show could rob it of its charm.

Marcus dismissed such worries. Of the 140 "South Park" episodes in the bank, an estimated 10 to 12 cannot be sufficiently edited for broadcast TV, he said.

Of the remaining 130 or so, "we're clipping a couple words," he said.

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