08/04/2004 at 08:00 AM EDT
Dave Chappelle has signed with Comedy Central for two more years of his Emmy-nominated Chappelle's Show in a deal said to be worth $50 million, say trade reports.
The new contract is not only a major boost for the comedian as the star, writer, co-executive producer and co-creator of the sketch comedy series, but in what is viewed as a significant development, he's also getting a hefty chunk of the show's powerful DVD sales, notes the Hollywood Reporter.
Chappelle, 30, was also being heavily wooed by NBC – which reputedly found his salary demands too high – as well as FX, whose eight-figure offer was said to be rebuffed.
As part of his Comedy Central deal, Chappelle also will be plugged into another Viacom subsidiary, Paramount Pictures, for whom he will star in an adaptation of the autobiography of Rick James, the funk veteran whom Chappelle has lampooned on Chappelle's Show. There may be other movie projects, as well.
"The success of the show has been phenomenal and overwhelming," said Chappelle, whose show ends with a line that includes the words "I'm rich!" "And now I'm actually rich," he added – with a rhyming, unprintable word that has become his virtual trademark.
The first of 26 new episodes of Chappelle's Show is expected to premiere in the first quarter of next year. Each 13-episode season will consist of 10 original episodes, plus two "best-of" episodes and another devoted to music performances.