Well this seems like an intelligent decision. Fox turned down South Park. Over time we have become well accustomed to watching corporations making what they thought was a good decision at the time, only to turn into a monstrous blunder. You only need to look at the case of Blockbuster or Excite to really see how disastrous an executives decision can turn out to be.
Back in the late 1990’s there were a few cartoon shows that were being target towards a more mature audience. While the majority of cartoons have had a focus on children, some shows had adults in mind, yet unfortunately were seen by many adults at the time as vulgar childrens shows, and a bad influence. You only need to watch a few episodes of The Simpsons, Beavis and Butt-head or King of the Hill to see that the intended audience was not children. This is where South Park enters the picture. It’s a show that is based on a group of school children who are as vulgar as they come. But school kids can’t be that bad can they? Well, back when it first aired many adults unwittingly allowed their kids watch the show, thinking a cartoon was really targeted for children, just like Disney cartoons.
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So this is what happened. Trey Parker and Matt Stone came up with an idea for a show, with some very crude drawings. Trying to find a platform in which to launch what they hoped would be a successful show, they approached Fox, which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest company in entertainment. So they made their pitch to Fox, and the outcome wasn’t what they hoped for. Fox turned down South Park, outright. But not happy to just dash the dreams of a couple of young guys, the Fox executives gave them some advice. They told Parker and Stone that the show would never work and should be about two guys and a girl. They were also told to throw in a few ethnicities. Don’t get me wrong, but isn’t that a typical recipe for a sitcom these days. AKA The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men? Talk about overdoing an idea.
But just as with all bad business decisions, the joke was on Fox. Stone and Parker signed with Comedy Central, and the rest is history. South Park is still running, had a successful movie, and still manages to piss someone off in every season.