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How Beavis And Butt-Head Helped South Park Land On Comedy Central

Any kid who grew up in the '90s will recall the tumult and the wave of parental and political concern that followed the release of "South Park" back in 1997. Even though the children of the series were being voiced by adults, that didn't stop the series from rattling a lot of cages with its foul-mouthed third-graders (later fourth-graders) facing some decidedly adult content.

However, there was another series that was taking that same brunt from many of the same types of concerned pundits for similar reasons only a few years earlier: "Beavis and Butt-Head." The MTV series was just as controversial as "South Park" was, and also like that series, the more adults said the show was awful and shouldn't be watched by anyone, the more kids and teenagers showed up in droves to tune in. Surprisingly, though, the two shows have even more in common than you might think, and it was precisely that similarity that landed "South Park" on Comedy Central rather than MTV.

Mike Judge's experience helped convince the South Park creators

Doug Herzog, former MTV Productions and Comedy Central president, recently sat down with his "Basic" podcast co-host Jen Chaney, as well as "Beavis and Butt-Head" creator Mike Judge, to talk about the similarities between the shows. Interestingly, with Judge there to spark the memory, Herzog revealed that the whirlwind of controversy that followed Judge's series on MTV was actually what convinced "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone to go with Comedy Central instead.

"I was at Comedy Central at this point. We were bidding against MTV. I convinced the guys, 'Look what Mike Judge just went through.' I said, 'It's a teen audience, and they're not going to let you do the show you want to do there,' Herzog recalled. "That convinced them to come to Comedy Central because we would have an 'adult audience.'"

Honestly, that's pretty shrewd. As Herzog had been on both sides of the fence, he was in a perfect position to ensure Comedy Central had a leg up as he had already gone through the problems related to Judge's show at MTV himself. Either way, "South Park" has since gone on to sign a deal with Paramount+ (via The Hollywood Reporter), just like "Beavis and Butt-Head" did, giving the two controversial '90s animated series yet another thing in common.