Production of the popular Comedy Central series "Chappelle's Show" (search) has been suspended and its third season's premiere indefinitely delayed.
Comedy Central issued a statement Wednesday, saying: "All parties are optimistic that production will resume in the near future."
The season will not start May 31 as originally scheduled, the statement added.
Neither Comedy Central publicist Tony Fox nor Dave Chappelle's (search) spokesman, Matt Labov, would discuss what caused the halt in production or how long it might last.
This unexpected turn deprives the network of one of its most valuable properties, a sketch-comedy series with a raw, satirical edge that became a critical and popular hit.
Last summer Comedy Central signed Chappelle to a deal reportedly worth $50 million for a third and fourth season. The two-year agreement also allowed Chappelle to develop other programming for the cable channel and cut him in on DVD sales, a lucrative factor considering his series' first-season DVD sold more than 2 million copies.
Last season the show was nominated for three Emmys, including outstanding comedy series.