Chelsea Handler Ditches Cable and Signs Seven-Year Deal with Netflix

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bill-swift - June 20, 2014

We already knew Chelsea Handler would be leaving E! when her current contract expires. However, everyone kind of figured that if she still wanted to do a talk show, she'd end up somewhere on television.

But no. Today Netflix announced that they'd signed Handler to a seven-year deal that includes stand-up specials, docu-comedy specials, and yes, in 2016, a talk show.

The stand-up specials are a no-brainer for the world's #1 streaming service, and the docu-comedies (which will follow Handler's pursuit for enlightenment about things she doesn't understand) sound like a pretty good fit for as well. The million dollar question is what a talk show will look like in an on-demand platform.

On the one hand it's hard to imagine that Netflix would release an entire season all at once like they do with House of Cards and Orange in the New Black. Current events are the lifeblood of talk shows, and you can't stay current if you film an entire season all at once.

On the other hand, if Netflix does release one episode at a time, they'll be breaking some new ground. Until now, the online streamer has built its library the same way people build (or used to build) their DVD collections: by acquiring "timeless" content that, ostensibly, will be just as good five years from now as it is today. Talk shows don't fit that description. If they did, the NBC would have released all 60 seasons of The Tonight Show on DVD by now.

Of course, the questions and challenges this move presents are the very reasons why Handler signed on with Netflix.

"If I was going to continue working in this industry, I knew I had to do something outside the box to keep myself interested," she explained in a statement released on Thursday. "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 guess we'll have to wait and see if this little fling bears fruit.


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