One of the best things about "South Park" is how unbelievably timely they can be . . . because they regularly write and produce new episodes in LESS THAN A WEEK, and don't turn them in until the day they air.

Well, last night there wasn't a new episode...because for the first time ever, creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone failed to make their deadline, thanks to a power outage that knocked out their studio for several hours on Tuesday.

Trey said, quote, "It sucks to miss an air-date, but after all these years of tempting fate by delivering the show last minute, I guess it was bound to happen."

The episode...titled "Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers"...will air next Wednesday. In its place last night, Comedy Central re-ran the classic "South Park" episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die".

You can find some night-vision photos from the power outage at SouthParkStudios.com.