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''Chappelle's Show'' halts production

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Dave Chappelle

Marking the one-year anniversary of the last time a new episode of Chappelle’s Show aired, Comedy Central issued a statement on Wednesday indicating that the wait for new episodes will continue indefinitely. Less than a day after the network touted its upcoming slate to advertisers at an all-star presentation, and four weeks before the scheduled May 31 premiere of Season 3, Comedy Central issued a brief statement saying the show would not return as scheduled. ”Comedy Central has suspended production on the third season of Chappelle’s Show until further notice,” network spokesman Tony Fox said in the statement. ”All parties are optimistic that production will resume in the near future.”

There was no further explanation for the delay, though E! News cited sources that said Chappelle hasn’t been on the set for weeks. But the New York Times reports that Chappelle was filming skits last week in Harlem. According to the New York Daily News, Chappelle’s team had been filming the show’s out-of-the-studio sketches since early 2005, with in-studio tapings before a live audience scheduled to take place this week, on Thursday and Saturday.

Last summer, the sketch show’s huge DVD sales prompted Comedy Central to sign Chappelle for two more seasons for a reported $50 million. In December, the network said that the scheduled February season premiere would be postponed due to production delays, attributed variously to Chappelle’s writer’s block or his contraction of the flu. Comedy Central’s Fox tells the Times that Chappelle had walking pneumonia.

Making the current delay more mysterious, Fox tells the Times that 10 of the 13 episodes are complete and ready for broadcast. Musical guests who have taped performances include 50 Cent, Kanye West, and Common, he says. Um, so then, why is the May 31 premiere being scrapped? Maybe Chappelle went on another nighttime ride with wildman Wayne Brady and got lost.

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