'Chappelle' yuks yanked for now
Comedy Central's hit laffer put on hold
By DENISE MARTIN
Comedy Central signed Dave Chappelle last August to a deal valued at $50 million. Less than 24 hours after its upfrontupfront presentation to Madison Avenue, Comedy CentralComedy Central has yanked this month's third-season premiere of its marquee series "Chappelle's Show" and halted production on the skeinskein.
Comedy Central offered no explanation for the move, instead issuing only a brief statement noting production has been suspended "until further notice. All parties are optimistic that production will resume in the near future."
Industry insiders familiar with Comedy Central's decisionmaking process indicate the net's announcement was prompted by the need for star Dave ChappelleDave Chappelle to seek treatment for unspecified personal issues.
A Comedy Central spokesman declined comment as did a spokesman for Chappelle.
Last August, cablercabler signed Chappelle to a deal valued at $50 million -- one of the richest pacts in basic cable -- to keep his red-hot "Chappelle's Show" around through 2006. Much of that coincoin was to have come from advances on DVD sales of the show's third and fourth seasons. If those seasons don't materialize, Chappelle (and others associated with the show) stands to make much less money.
Delay in the third season comes as both a surprise -- promos and commercials directing viewers to the premiere were still airing on the cabler Tuesday evening -- and a major blow to Comedy Central, which was counting on a media frenzy for the return of the satirical sketch comedy.