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Doug Herzog Has Some 'Splainin' To Do Day continues on Defamer, as THR notes that South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone used their time at the TCAs yesterday to unload on Comedy Central for pulling their Tom Cruise-teasing "Trapped in the Closet" episode from the rerun schedule because of pressure from the Viacom-cherished actor (Paramount's M:i:III was soon to be released), and for censoring an image of Mohammed they included in another episode. THR has CC head Herzog's reaction to these additional disgruntled employees:

"So there are two things we can't do on Comedy Central: show Muhammad or Tom Cruise," Trey Parker said during the MTV Networks portion of the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour. [...]

Regarding the decision not to air the image of Muhammad during the "Cartoon Wars" episode, the [Parker and Stone] said it was a corporate decision that could become a slippery slope if other groups begin making threats and affecting content. They also noted that Muhammad seems to be off limits, while it is "open season" on Jesus, who happens to be a "South Park" character. (Depictions of Muhammad are strictly prohibited in Islam.)

Comedy Central president Doug Herzog admitted, "It's tough, but I think I would say we did overreact. ... Matt and Trey enjoy a fair amount of creative freedom. History might show that we overreacted, and we will live with that."


He added that the image probably will not be shown on the DVD version either, but "I look forward to the day when we can uncover it."

Indeed, we all look forward to the day when basic cable networks executives won't cave to overcautious pressure from their corporate parents over fears that the antics of crudely animated schoolchildren will touch off jihad from either offended Muslims or humorless Scientologist movie stars who have his bosses by the balls, though we don't recommend anyone hold his or her breath until such a magical time arrives. We also find interesting yet another reference to the artistic autonomy enjoyed by his talent; Parker and Stone should be careful not to take on Herzog again for a while, lest he upgrade their "fair amount of creative freedom" to a Chappelle-level "complete creative control" in hopes of driving them so crazy with independence that they flee the country and abandon their contracts.


[Photo: Getty Images; Parker, Herzog, and Stone in happier days]