ABC hit gold in 2018 when it brought back the groundbreaking sitcom “Roseanne”.
The reboot was not just a rating smash, but it reached out to Red State America at a time when broadcast television had little appetite for such a move.
ABC suits liked the results – huge ratings and a reborn property that could run for years. Then star Roseanne Barr removed a horrific, racist Tweet, and it all crashed.
ABC brass surveyed the landscape, smashing some numbers and deciding it was worth losing millions to fire Barr despite her heartfelt apology.
Short lesson? Money did not matter.
It’s not what we typically associate with the show business, but it’s more common than you think.
This lesson clearly avoided Matt Stone, co-founder of Comedy Central’s “South Park.” Stone and creative partner Trey Parker have just signed a massive $ 900 million deal to air several “South Park” episodes with movies and related projects for Paramount Plus members.
Stone, speaking for the first time since the mega-deal, suggested he was unaware of how far there is in canceling the culture these days.
Do you even worry about “canceling culture”?
No. As you can see from this agreement, we have ‘f *** you’ money now.
We are more interested in it than whining about it. It is a legitimate cultural change. We explore it all the time in the show.
Stone has survived Cancel Culture for so long that he thinks he is permanently immune to it. He is only partially right. His unwillingness to apologize for his jokes and a number of successful products inoculated him against the cultural virus.
How long will that immunity last?
RELATED: NPR Blames the Right to Cancel Culture
Stone and Parker are artistic troublemakers. It’s in their DNA and no one wants them to change that approach. Let’s see what happens if one of their projects hits the “wrong” goal or personality. Big Tech already censors comedians who tell wrong kind of jokes.
In this cultural moment, no one is 100 percent protected against Cancel culture, and the toxic trend is growing and slowing down in ways that are impossible to predict. Who could have predicted that a sportscaster would be unemployed after saying “All Lives Matter?”
And as we have learned, it does not matter how much money an artist brings to the forces that are.
Would the employee’s drones on Spotify demand and have ten separate meetings to discuss censorship of Joe Rogan if they did not think they could succeed?
ViacomCBS wrote the giant check to Stone and Parker. The duo’s work thrives on HBO Max, Comedy Central and Paramount Plus. It’s the giants of the company, the kind that quickly tense up when the waking mob comes a call.
Do you remember how HBO Max deleted “Gone with the Wind”, only to bring it back with a warning sticker?
Cancel Culture drones are bullies, and Stone and Parker have shown that they are not easily pushed around. It helps them tremendously, but there is no contract big enough to ensure their creative survival if Cancel Culture wants them gone.