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Friday, May 06, 2005
Television--- After previously being delayed on two separate occasions, the third season of Chappelle's Show has been delayed indefinitely and had its production halted by Comedy Central. It has now been over a year since a new episode of Chappelle's Show aired on Comedy Central. The drop-off in productivity from Chappelle seems to be directly or indirectly tied to Chappelle getting his gigantic new contract from Comedy Central last year, with a huge raise to continue the series and a huge raise in DVD royalties (the contract's total value was estimated at $50 million).

The date of the show's third season premiere was originally scheduled for late 2004, and the first official reason given for its delay was that Chappelle and the other writers simply got a late start on writing the third season. The season premiere was re-scheduled for February 2005 and then delayed again, this time because Chappelle had supposedly fallen ill with "the flu." Around that same time, a deal for Chappelle to author (or co-author) an autobiography also fell apart, as he became harder and harder to reach.

The latest scheduled season premiere date for one of the funniest shows on television was May 31, and now that has been delayed indefinitely with no reason given by Comedy Central. However, sources have told the TV industry trade publication Variety that the decision was prompted by "the need for Dave Chappelle to seek treatment for unspecified medical issues." Make no mistake about it: That is Hollywood-speak for "the need for Dave Chappelle to go to drug rehab."

While filming for several episodes of the third season has already been completed, E Online reports that Chappelle had a tendency during production of the third season to go missing for days or even weeks at a time, with no explanation for his long absences. Other entertainment news web sites have recounted even more alarming stories of Chappelle's behavior being extremely erratic, with the consistent theme that he is badly in need of drug rehab. I am not going to go into detail, but the stories have been very alarming for anyone who cares about Chappelle's well-being.

Comedy Central's decision to indefinitely pull the plug on the second season would seem to be the network's way of saying to Chappelle, "Go to rehab or there's no more show," and given the huge success of the show, that is not a decision Comedy Central would make unless the network felt it had absolutely no other alternative.

The DVD release of "Chappelle's Show: Season Two" had previously been delayed from February until May 24 in order to help promote the new season of Chappelle's Show that was scheduled to start airing a week later. With no season premiere date in sight, DVD distributor Paramount has decided to stop waiting for the third season premiere and will release the second season DVD as scheduled on May 24.

Success and money change everyone in different ways. We should all hope that whatever Dave Chappelle is going through right now in battling his personal demons, hopefully Chappelle's Show will come out of it alive and well. More importantly, we should all hope that Dave Chappelle himself will come of this alive and well.