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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 March 2006, 12:02 GMT
South Park 'battling' Scientology
 South Park
South Park is famed for lampooning religion
South Park's creators have renewed their "battle" with Scientology, after a US TV channel dropped a show which mocked its church and actor Tom Cruise.

"So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun!" Trey Parker and Matt Stone told trade paper Variety.

Comedy Central said the schedule change enabled it to screen two extra episodes featuring Isaac Hayes, who played Chef.

Hayes left South Park this week after objecting to it sending up religion.

Parker and Stone added in their statement to Variety: "Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies."

Trey Parker and Matt Stone
Curses and drat! You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail! Hail Xenu!!!
Trey Parker and Matt Stone

Comedy Central's spokesman said the channel wanted to "give Chef an appropriate tribute by airing two episodes he is most known for".

The channel also denied it had axed the episode featuring Cruise after reports of pressure from the actor to drop it from its schedules.

And the actor denied reports suggesting he had threatened not to promote his latest film Mission Impossible: 3 if the episode was broadcast.

The film is being brought out in May by Paramount, which is owned, along with Comedy Central, by Viacom.

"Not true," Cruise's spokesman said about the reports. "I can tell you that he never said that."

Tom Cruise
Cruise said he had nothing to do with the episode being dropped

Variety reported that the spokesman added: "He never said any such thing about Mission: Impossible 3."

Paramount were unavailable for comment.

Cruise, an outspoken follower of Scientology, starred in the first two Mission Impossible films.

The initial 1996 movie grossed $454m (250m) worldwide and the second took a total of $546m (300m) in 2000.

Animated series South Park tells the story of four boys in a dysfunctional Colorado town and regularly deals with sensitive subjects and sends up famous figures.

In a recent episode, one of the gang, Stan, did so well in a Scientology test that church followers thought he was the next L Ron Hubbard, the late science-fiction writer who founded Scientology.

Hayes, 63, had been a regular on South Park since its US TV debut in 1997.

The show was insensitive to "personal spiritual beliefs", Hayes said.

But Stone said Hayes had "never had a problem" until the Scientology Church, to which Hayes belongs, was parodied.

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