Warner Bros Sues Paramount Over $500 Million South Park Deal
Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. is suing Paramount Global, alleging that the latter aired new episodes of the popular animated comedy series “South Park” after paying for exclusive rights.
According to a lawsuit filed Friday in New York State Supreme Court, Warner signed a contract in 2019 paying more than $500 million for the rights to existing and new episodes of the irreverent show.
HBO Max, Warner Bros.’ streaming service, was supposed to get the first episodes of a new “South Park” season in 2020. According to the lawsuit, the company was informed that the pandemic had halted production.
Despite Warner’s exclusive rights to the show until 2025, the company claims South Park Digital Studios, which produces the shows and is named a defendant in the lawsuit, offered Paramount two pandemic-themed specials, which aired in September 2020 and March 2021.
According to the lawsuit, the pandemic specials should have been offered to Warner as part of the original contract. The move, described in the lawsuit as “verbal trickery,” drove the show’s fans to the competing Paramount platform. According to the lawsuit, nearly all South Park episodes premiere on Comedy Central, one of Paramount’s cable channels.
The lawsuit does not name show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who launched the show in 1997 and oversee the franchise.
According to Warner’s lawsuit, gaining streaming rights to “South Park” is a competitive process due to the potentially lucrative market attracting more subscribers, advertisers, and a loyal fan base comprised primarily of young adults.
A $900 million deal in 2021 between a Paramount subsidiary and South Park Digital Studios for exclusive content on the Paramount Plus streaming service, which launched the same year, is also mentioned in the 24-page court filing.
Warner claims the deal was a deliberate “scheme” between Paramount, it’s subsidiary MTV Entertainment Studios and South Park Digital Studios to “divert as much of the new South Park content as possible to Paramount Plus to boost that nascent streaming platform.”
Warner paid $1,687,500 per episode and claims it has yet to receive all episodes covered by the contract, resulting in more than $200 million in damages.
Meghan Markle ‘Upset and Overwhelmed’ Following South Park Depiction
Meanwhile, in the latest episode of “South Park,” titled “The Worldwide Privacy Tour,” Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were brutally roasted.
Though the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were not directly mentioned in the episode, it did feature characters who were described as Canadian royalty and dubbed “the prince and his wife,” clearly mocking the couple.
The couple was also mentioned in “The Worldwide Privacy Tour,” including Harry’s explosive memoir and their six-part Netflix series “Harry & Meghan.”
In the episode, the red-headed prince and his wife – who wore a pink ensemble that resembled one worn by Markle, 41, for 2018 Trooping the Colour – decide to leave Canada after a falling out with the royal family following the queen’s death.
The pair embark on a worldwide “We Want Privacy” tour before landing in South Park, where they move into a house across the street from Kyle Broflovski, much to his chagrin.
The episode skewers Harry and Meghan in typical “South Park” fashion, with jokes, innuendos, and thinly veiled references.
Meghan Markle was reportedly “upset and overwhelmed” by the portrayal of herself and Prince Harry in the most recent episode of the US comedy South Park. “South Park irritates her, but she refuses to watch it all,” she says.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the show’s creators, are known for hilariously mocking a wide range of celebrities, but some felt they went ‘too far’ with one gag, in which they very accurately recreated several of Meghan’s real-life magazine covers.
She did cartoon versions of the Vanity Fair front page before she married Harry and one for The Cut to promote her Spotify podcast.
But the most controversial one is a spoof of GQ, which in real life had the headline ‘Meghan’s annus mirabilis’, which translates from Latin to ‘Meghan’s wonderful year’. However, the South Park version controversially read: “Princess Anus.”
Most viewers deemed the new episode hilarious, including the Sussexes’ harshest critic, Piers Morgan, who tweeted: “The South Park rinsing of Meghan and Harry is brilliant… I believe this is how most Americans now perceive them.”
Harry & Meghan Get ROASTED In New ‘South Park’ Episode
North Korea Test-Fires 2 More Missiles As US Sends Carrier
South Korea’s SEOUL — On Monday, the nuclear-powered USS Nimitz and her battle group began operations with South Korean warships, hours after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles in apparent protest of the allies’ growing maneuvers.
This month’s seventh missile test heightened regional tensions as the North’s weapons tests and joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea intensified in a cycle of tit-for-tat.
The launches could have been timed to coincide with the arrival of the USS Nimitz and its strike group, which included a guided missile cruiser and two destroyers and participated in air defense exercises and other maneuvers with South Korean vessels waters around Jeju Island.
South Korean navy spokesperson Jang Do Young said the drills were aimed at honing joint operational capabilities and proving the U.S. resolve to defend its ally with all available options, including nuclear, in the wake of the North’s “escalating nuclear and missile threats.”
On Tuesday, the Nimitz strike group was scheduled to arrive in Busan’s South Korean mainland port.
“The United States has deployable strategic assets at the ready every day,” said Carrier Strike Group Eleven leader Rear Adm. Christopher Sweeney. “We can and will continue to deploy those assets.”
The two North Korean missiles were launched from a western inland area
The two North Korean missiles were launched from a western inland area south of Pyongyang between 7:47 a.m. and 8 a.m. and traveled approximately 370 kilometers (229 miles) before falling at sea, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. The missiles, which landed beyond Japan’s exclusive economic zone, traveled on an erratic trajectory and reached a maximum altitude of 50 kilometers, according to Japan’s military. (31 miles).
Previously, Japan used similar wording to describe a North Korean solid-fuel missile that appears to be modeled after Russia’s Iskander mobile ballistic weapon, which is supposed to be maneuverable in low-altitude flight to better elude South Korean missile defenses. North Korea also has another short-range system similar to the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System used by the United States.
Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, stated that North Korea might increase its testing activity by launching additional missiles or conducting its first nuclear test since September 2017.
The South Korean and Japanese militaries condemned the new launches as a severe provocation endangering regional peace and stated that they were cooperating with the U.S. to further evaluate the missiles. The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command stated that while the launches did not constitute an imminent threat to the U.S. or its allies, they underscore North Korea’s “destabilizing impact” of its illicit nuclear and missile programs.
North Korea, subject to U.N. Security Council sanctions for its nuclear program since 2016
North Korea, subject to U.N. Security Council sanctions for its nuclear program since 2016, did not immediately respond to the launches.
Last week, the U.S. and South Korea concluded their largest springtime drills in years, including computer simulations and live-fire field exercises. However, the allies have continued their field training as a show of force against the mounting dangers from the North.
North Korea also launched a short-range missile when the USS Ronald Reagan and its battle group arrived in September for joint drills with South Korea, the last time the U.S. sent an aircraft carrier to waters near the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea has launched more than 20 ballistic and cruise missiles this year to push the U.S. to accept its nuclear status and negotiate sanctions relief from a position of strength.
This month’s tests included an intercontinental ballistic missile and a series of short-range missiles designed to overwhelm South Korean defenses as North Korea attempts to demonstrate its ability to undertake nuclear strikes on South Korea and the United States mainland.
The North conducted a three-day practice last week that claimed to simulate nuclear assaults on South Korean targets.
The country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, has called the joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea “invasion rehearsals.” According to the allies, the exercises are defensive.
The tests included a rumored nuclear-capable underwater drone.
The tests included a rumored nuclear-capable underwater drone, which the North said could unleash a massive “radioactive tsunami” and destroy navy vessels and ports. Analysts questioned whether such a device posed a significant new danger, and Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff warned in a statement Monday that the North Korean allegations were likely “exaggerated and fabricated.”
Following some of its ballistic and cruise missile tests earlier this month, North Korea claimed that those missiles were tipped with dummy nuclear warheads that detonated 600 to 800 meters (1,960 to 2,600 feet) above their sea targets, presenting them as maximum damage heights.
North Korea has already had a record year of weapons testing, launching more than 70 missiles in 2022. It had enacted an escalator nuclear strategy that allows for pre-emptive nuclear strikes in a wide range of scenarios in which it perceives its leadership to be under threat.
“It appears North Korea is practicing, or signaling that it is practicing, the use of nuclear strikes, both preemptive and retaliatory, in various scenarios authorized in its nuclear doctrine,” said Duyeon Kim, a senior analyst at the Center for a New American Security.
“The problem is that continued testing allows Pyongyang to perfect its technology, strengthen its nuclear weapons capability, threaten South Korea and Japan, increase the possibility of miscalculation, which could lead to inadvertent conflict, and accumulate political leverage ahead of future diplomatic talks with Washington.”
Following the North’s confirmation of the drone test on Friday, South Korea’s air force disclosed information about a five-day joint practice with the U.S. last week, which included live-fire displays of air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry.
According to the air force, the exercise aimed to test precision strike capabilities and reaffirm the credibility of Seoul’s “three-axis” strategy against North Korean nuclear threats. This strategy includes striking potential targets ahead of time, stopping incoming missiles, and taking out the North’s leadership and key military facilities.
SOURCE – (AP)
Lyft To Pick Up New CEO Amid Deepening Post-Pandemic Losses
Logan Green and John Zimmer, co-founders of Lyft, are stepping down to make room for a former Amazon executive as the ride-hailing service battles to recover from the pandemic while long-time rival Uber has been regaining pace.
According to the revised order released Monday, Green will stand down as Lyft’s CEO on April 17, and Zimmer will step down as the San Francisco company’s president at the end of June.
Green will be succeeded as CEO by David Risher, who helped turn Amazon into an e-commerce behemoth. Green will remain Lyft’s non-executive chairman, while Zimmer will become vice chairman after leaving management.
The reorganization comes roughly a month after Lyft announced a $588 million loss for the final three months of last year, more than doubling from the same period in 2021, and issued a bleak prediction for 2023. This exacerbated Lyft’s stock decline, which had dropped its shares below $10, a roughly 80% loss from their price at the end of 2019, only a few months before the announcement of a global epidemic halted demand for ride-hailing services.
The reorganization comes roughly a month after Lyft announced a $588 million loss.
While Uber’s ridership has returned to pre-pandemic levels, Lyft has failed to find a means to recover, leading its losses to rise and investors to flee the shares. Uber expanded its operations to include food delivery, a popular choice amid government lockdowns that kept people opening the Uber app.
Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives called Lyft’s last six months a “train wreck” that necessitated a change in leadership. He stated that Risher had so much work ahead of him that Lyft would consider selling him. An acquisition would be less expensive than it would have been a few years ago, as Lyft’s current market valuation has dropped to $4 billion, down from around $14 billion at the end of 2019.
Risher said in a prepared statement that he was “gobsmacked” when asked about becoming Lyft’s CEO and that he is now “prepared to take this business to new levels of success.”
Risher was hired as Amazon’s 37th employee and proved so valuable to the Seattle company that when he departed, its founder, Jeff Bezos, issued a thank you statement thanking Risher for helping to develop a company that “is all about working hard, having fun, and making history.”
With consumers reducing their e-commerce purchases due to the epidemic, Amazon has announced 27,000 layoffs since late last year.
Risker founded Worldreader, a San Francisco organization that teaches young children to read.
Uber, also based in San Francisco, experienced a considerably more traumatic leadership transition in 2017 when its co-founder Travis Kalanick was forced out in a high-profile power struggle that was depicted last year in a Showtime TV series. Dara Khosrowshahi, the company’s new CEO, has been attempting to transform Uber into the transportation equivalent of Amazon.
SOURCE – (AP)
Strike Over Pay Paralyzes Rail, Air Travel In Germany
BERLIN — Trains, aircraft, and public transportation systems were grounded across most of Germany on Monday as labor unions launched a big one-day strike over pay to obtain inflation-busting raises for their members.
The 24-hour strike, one of the country’s largest in decades, also impacted cargo movement by train and ship as workers at the country’s ports and waterways joined the strike.
Many commuters chose to travel to work, generating some traffic delays, while those who could work from home did so.
Unions are seeking a 10.5% pay increase and have rejected employer offers of approximately 5% over two years plus one-time bonuses.
According to Ulrich Silberbach of the Civil Service Federation, high inflation observed everywhere last year affected many workers hard.
“We have seen a drop in real wages, which needs to be balanced,” he told reporters in Berlin, adding that some of his union’s members in major cities must request public assistance to pay their rent.
Silberbach expressed hope that employers will raise their offer in the next discussions or that unions would be forced to consider an open-ended strike.
Three days of talks are scheduled between the two sides.
His EVG train union colleague Martin Burkert noted that workers’ salaries are a fraction of some senior executives’ salaries.
However, Deutsche Bahn dismissed the union’s proposals as overblown and warned that millions of commuters would be affected.
“Thousands of companies that normally send or receive goods by rail will also suffer,” said Achim Strauss, a spokesman for Deutsche Bahn. “In the end, the environment and the climate will suffer.” The oil companies are today’s winners.”
He said that train tickets that couldn’t be used because of the disruption would remain valid, and travelers should check the company’s website for updates.
The strike caused inconvenience and delays Sunday.
Three days of talks are scheduled between the two sides. Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, representing the federal government in the talks, said her side would be “tough but fair and constructive” in the discussions.
Faeser expressed confidence that a satisfactory solution may be found.
Labor strikes are common in Germany, and they usually conclude with a compromise agreement reached between unions and employers.
The strike caused inconvenience and delays Sunday as travelers hurried to reach their destinations early.
SOURCE – (AP)
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