Looks like Chelsea Handler is getting out of the late night talk show game — well, sort of.
The current host of E!’s Chelsea Lately hasn’t made it any secret that she’s unhappy at the network she just so happens to be leaving soon or that she’s looking for another steady gig in the late night realm, but the comedienne has now signed up for a new show that, by its very design, is not a late night talk show. In reality, it’s an anytime talk show, because Handler is now moving over to Netflix for the next stage of her career.The streaming service (and DVD rental giant, but who ever thinks about that anymore) announced the pairing today via a press release, the kind peppered with fawning language and lots of Handler’s trademark humor (which, cough cough, doesn’t work for everyone).
Handler’s new (and currently unnamed) show will arrive in 2016, when it “will debut simultaneously in all Netflix territories for members to enjoy however and whenever they like. The new talk show will feature an updated format that still encompasses Chelsea’s unfiltered opinions on topical entertainment and cultural issues, as well as her signature guest interviews.” There’s no word yet on how many episodes will be available when the show first debuts and what sort of release pattern they will follow — something we’re very interested in hearing more about, considering the “topical” demands of a talk show. (Really, how topical can a show be if it was presumably filmed at least weeks before? It’s a pickle, but we certainly assume that Netflix and Handler will do their best to make it work in a feasible way.)
Of the news, Handler shared: “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.” Cool lunchtime parallels. Very irreverent.
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos also piped in on the lovefest, commenting that “Chelsea has built a huge following on tour, on nightly TV and through her best-selling books, and we cant wait to introduce her breathtakingly honest and irreverent voice to our global membership.”
Although Handler is not signing herself up for a sweet (and more traditional) network deal, teaming with Netflix does offer her some major perks and some big-time freedom. First up, Netflix will premiere the comedienne’s first hour-long stand-up special, Uganda Be Kidding Me Live(which will film in Chicago on June 20th) in October. After that, Handler will “create four new docu-comedy specials exclusively for Netflix featuring her efforts to gain a better understanding on a variety of subjects ranging from NASCAR to politics and from Silicon Valley to the NBA draft.” That sounds, well, a little sexist, but okay. Handler will produce both sets of projects as well.
Handler’s name has been brought up consistently during the recent late night upheavals, particularly when David Letterman announced that he was leaving The Late Show, an announcement that just so happened to coincide with Handler’s news that she was leaving E! later this year. Handler reportedly chatted with CBS in some capacity — she posted a picture of herself with what appeared to be a scad of CBS marketing materials on her Twitter, and numerous outlets reported that she was talking to the network about taking over either Letterman’s slot or Craig Ferguson’s position — though clearly neither has worked out. Stephen Colbert, of course, will take over the Late Show gig, and the fate of Ferguson’s slot is still in flux.
Handler’s last episode of Chelsea Lately will air on August 26th.