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Netflix announces major deal with comedian Dave Chappelle

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FILE - In this July 18, 2015 file photo, comedian Dave Chappelle speaks at the RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation's Art for Life Benefit in New York. "Saturday Night Live" called on host Chappelle's wit for a thoughtful coda to a divisive presidential campaign. Chappelle offered an African-American take onPresident-elect, Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton, saying he hadn’t seen white people so mad since the O.J. Simpson verdict. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP, File)

Internet streaming service Netflix has announced a major deal with Dave Chappelle, who is widely regarded as one of the most successful comedians of the last quarter-century. According to the terms of the deal, Chappelle is set to release three new full-length comedy specials exclusive to the Netflix service.

Chappelle’s career includes a number of major film appearances, including the starring role in the cult comedy “Half Baked.” Chappelle’s eponymous Comedy Central show was one of the cable network’s most highly-rated and culturally enduring shows.

Creative conflicts with Comedy Central led to Chappelle’s decision to walk off of production from the show during its third season, spurning a rumored contract offer of $55 million and stunning fans and television executives alike. Chappelle stuck mostly to live stand-up for years, but he made a major splash by hosting the first “Saturday Night Live” after President-elect Donald Trump’s victory: the episode garnered the highest ratings for the show since Jimmy Fallon hosted in 2013.

Netflix’s deal with Chappelle represents the latest attempt by Netflix to aggressively compete with cable networks in original content, particularly in the realm of televised stand-up comedy. Netflix also recently announced that they had inked comedian Chris Rock — who joined Chappelle for a widely-circulated skit on this week’s “Saturday Night Live” — to a lucrative two-special deal. The financial terms of the deal with Chappelle have not yet been disclosed.

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