Netflix Strikes New Deal with Chelsea Handler for Talk Show, Stand-Up Special, and Documentary Comedy Series

By June 19, 2014

Netflix has made an interesting new move in their efforts to create more original programming, and it takes them into a couple arenas that no one anticipated: the streaming and DVD mailing service has just announced a partnership with comedian Chelsea Handler to create an all-new talk show that will kick off early in 2016.

However, before that happens, she’ll debut a new hour-long stand-up special this year on October 10th from her latest Uganda Be Kidding Me Tour that will be taped in Chicago on June 20th at the Harris Theater. So if you’ve got tickets to that show, prepare to potentially be seen by millions of Netflix subscribers laughing your ass off.

But that’s not all, because this new deal with Netflix also has Handler creating four documentary comedy specials that will have the comedienne learning more about subjects like NASCAR, Silicon Valley, and the NBA Draft.

In a statement about all these new projects, Handler said:

If I was going to continue working in this industry, I knew I had to do something outside the box to keep myself interested. I wanted to sit with the cool kids at lunch so I approached Netflix to make sure they were as cool as I thought they were, and when I confirmed my suspicions, like with any other future lover, I made my move. I’m more excited than I’ve been in awhile, and the team at Netflix is the most forward thinking, alert group I’ve sat down with in ages. No offense to the Shahs Of Sunset.

While Netflix has been producing several stand-up specials along with hit shows like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black,” this foray into late night talk shows sounds pretty risky, especially considering the fact that the show will be watched on-demand, effectively negating the idea of late night talks shows. However, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos says:

The Internet has disrupted many of the conventions of traditional television and together with Chelsea Handler, Netflix is looking forward to reimagining the late night talk show for the on-demand generation, starting with the late night part.

Netflix logo

To be fair, as many viewers as there are for late night shows such as “Conan” or “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” there’s a huge chunk of consumers who experience the show through viral clips. So Netflix making a series like this available through their service isn’t entirely ridiculous. But the question remains, how will it be supplied to subscribers? Will there be a new episode each day for most weeks of the year like the traditional late night talk shows? That remains to be clarified.

This is undoubtedly a bold move for Netflix, which makes sense with an edgy comedian like Chelsea Handler, fresh off her announced departure from E! Network. At the very least, it’s something different outside of the normal network late night talk shows, and it’ll be interesting to see if this shakes things up at all. The show won’t have to worry about upsetting advertisers or censors, so that’s a bonus. But if people aren’t fans of Handler, we’re not sure this can be as broadly appealing as something like “The Tonight Show” or other late night shows which consistently get good ratings no matter who the host has been.

Will you watch Handler’s new show?

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.