South Park is cutting back.
Comedy Central's animated staple, from co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, will see a reduced episode count for its 17th season. Instead of the usual 14 episodes split into two batches of seven each, beginning Sept. 25, South Park will run straight through for 10 episodes.
There wasn't any particular rhyme or reason for the original half-season format, but the more condensed run will offer the duo more opportunity to try other things, which could include a possible Book of Mormon movie. (Earlier this month, the pair formed their own production company, Important Studios, estimated to have a $300 million value.)
"Why did we do seven and seven to begin with? We just sort of made that up" Stone told the New York Times. "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."
That's not to say there wasn't any thought put into this particular move.
"There is no appointment viewing anymore," Stone said. "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."
Added 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."
For Parker and Stone, the move to cut back on South Park episodes might be seen as risky, but the two reaffirmed their hope that the move will ensure that the show continues for a long time.
"We want to keep South Park going for a long time to come, and given what is going on in television, I don't think it matters as much how many episodes you have," Stone said.