Chelsea Handler, who will exit her late-night talker on E! later this summer, will launch a talk show on Netflix in 2016, both Handler and the streaming service have separately announced. In addition, Handler's new show will be preceeded by a series of concert specials, the first to appear this October.
Handler's statement: “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."
Few, in fact, no details were offered about the new show, and instead this line was the only real light shed in the news release from Netflix:
"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."
This, of course, could mean anything but it also seems to suggest that any standard definition of the talk show, or at least late-night talk show, essentially falls by the wayside here. Netflix isn't about "late night" or "daytime." It's about anytime. Nevertheless, subscribers would still have to know when it "airs" -- wrong word, but in a pinch it will do -- and because that word "topical" is so prominent here, the series must surely be tied to a day-in-date presentation, otherwise, topicality goes out the window.
Meanwhile, let the term "game-changer" fly, because this is indeed a game-changer. Over the last seven years, Handler -- raunchy, rude and undeniably amusing -- carved out a genuine fan base from one of the toughest parts of the broadcast day. She was inserted -- and inserted herself -- into the big conversations about late-night future, and the questions that have surrounded those until lately: Who would replace David Letterman or Craig Ferguson? And her departure from E! is big news too. E! at the moment is struggling big-time with its linchpin series, "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," now in its ninth season (or season 9B, in K terminology), which has seen ratings plummet since its spring return.
But this story isn't about Kourtney and Lamar -- it's about Netflix and Handler and how the business of watching TV has once again changed dramatically, or to offer the take of Netflix's "chief content officer," Ted Sarandos: “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….”