‘South Park’: Season 19 Release Date: Will This Be Second-To-Last Season?

South Park, Comedy Central’s irreverent pop culture phenomenon, will head into its 19th season when it returns to the airwaves. The animated series, which quickly became the flagship of the comedy network, ended its 18th season with a two-part finale in December, with many wondering when they could look forward to the South Park boys once again gracing their screens.

According to Conviron Altatis of Yibada, South Park forum moderator Big-Will explained the algorithm he used to predict that the 19th season of South Park will debut on September 23.

“Seeing as they take two breaks each season now, after the fourth and eighth episodes, and the second break being the day before Thanksgiving, I calculate the first episode this way.”

South Park hit the airwaves in 1997 and has taken aim at everything and everyone from politicians to celebrities, and even religious leaders. South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone were targeted by Islamic fundamentalists after a controversial portrayal of Prophet Muhammad, during which scandal threats were made against the comedic duo. Since its debut, South Park has proven to become a critical voice in modern pop culture, with its production process streamlined to the point where the South Park team can now take an episode from inception to air in a week’s time. The fast turnaround has even allowed Parker and Stone to satirize the outcome of presidential elections just a day following.

Marie de los Santos of Movie News Guide speculates that the coming season and the show’s 20th could be the final seasons for South Park, and that they may be live action. South Park is currently scheduled through the 20th season, and with a growing desire to stretch out to other mediums such as film — Parker and Stone are responsible for films such as South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, Baseketball, and Team America: World Police— and theatre, where the duo’s Book of Mormon brought home several coveted Tony Awards, it is possible that Parker and Stone could move away from their iconic cartoon. However, given the value of South Park to Comedy Central, especially in light of losing network stalwarts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, one would presume that if Parker and Stone were to walk away from South Park that they would do so likely in the face of a massive deal offered by the network to keep the franchise alive.

Given the show’s ratings and persistent fan interest, it is unlikely that the show would end due to viewer fatigue of waned interest. If the rating stay consistently sharp and the South Park crew continues to react to societal and cultural phenomena, it would be hard to imagine a Comedy Central slate without South Park anchoring its Wednesday nights.