Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Chappelle gets two more seasons

In what could be the biggest talent deal in basic-cable history, comedian Dave Chappelle has re-upped with Comedy Central for two more seasons of Chappelle's Show and will get a hefty cut of its DVD sales.

Total: at least $35 million.

Chappelle's is Comedy Central's biggest hit since South Park.

The show's 10-episode second season averaged 3.1 million viewers in the spring, boosting Wednesday companions South Park and The Daily Show. And the first-season DVD is this year's top TV title, racking up retail sales of $43.5 million, according to Video Business.

The renewal, capping months of negotiations, comes after rival FX made its own offer to lure Chappelle, 30. He'll be paid about $5 million per season.

But the big payoff is in DVD: Comedy agreed to make him an equal partner in profits of past and future sales, say those familiar with the negotiations.

"The deal made it very hard to say no," Chappelle says. "I'm not sure, but I believe there is a clause that gives me reparations for slavery."

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