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South Park has been off the air without any new episodes for the better part of a year now, with no news about when Season 24 might hit the airwaves despite the end of September getting closer and closer as the usual premiere window. Now, Comedy Central has some very good news for fans. Season 24 might not be days away, but South Park is returning for its first one-hour special in the very near future.

Considering the show has aired more than 300 episodes (many of which were very controversial) over 23 seasons since its premiere in 1997, it's no small deal that South Park has found an occasion for a one-hour broadcast. Appropriately, the special will tackle the current pandemic crisis affecting the world, with a very South Park twist.

Called "The Pandemic Special," the supersized episode will give fans a look at South Park in the time of COVID-19. Randy must come to terms with the outbreak and the continued challenges to the citizens. The kids head back to school, only to find that what they had known to expect from school is going to be very different. Among the changes: their teachers, their homeroom, and even Eric Cartman.

The one-hour episode will premiere on Wednesday, September 30 at 8 p.m. ET on Comedy Central, but you'll be in luck even if you miss that first broadcast. Comedy Central is airing encore broadcasts at 9 p.m. ET and 10 p.m. ET on September 30. All things considered, the September release of the episode may restore a slight sense of normalcy to South Park fans. Every season from 17-23 launched in mid-to-late September. The special will also be available streaming on HBO Max 24 hours after the premiere on Comedy Central.

"The Pandemic Special" is seemingly a one-off event rather than the lead-in to weekly releases of Season 24, but it's a good sign and something worth getting excited about. The promo for the special gives a closer look at what to expect, including Cartman in dinosaur pajamas resisting the call to go back to school, Kyle freaking out about social distancing, kids in class wearing masks, nobody being all that excited about Randy's "Pandemic Special," and more. Take a look:

Another reason for fans to get excited about "The Pandemic Special" is that South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone are known for writing and animating new episodes very close to the air date, which allows South Park to get more topical in a timely manner than shows that have many weeks between writing and releasing. If the creators were able to work on this one-hour special, perhaps they're hard at work on Season 24.

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What To Watch On Streaming If You Like South Park

For now, you can look forward to "The Pandemic Special" episode of South Park on September 30, and check out plenty of older episodes streaming on HBO Max. If you're in the market for some TV options other than South Park, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule!

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