Chelsea Handler Trades In E! For Netflix

Chelsea Handler has traded in the E! channel for Netflix. According to the New York Times, Netflix announced on Thursday that Chelsea Handler would begin her new talk show for the streaming network in early 2016.

Netflix hasn’t shied away from original content in recent years. The Kevin Spacey/Robin Wright vehicle, the emmy-award-winning House of Cards, and the extremely popular black comedy, Orange is the New Black, are the two best examples of original programming produced by the streaming network. But a nightly talk show?

Chelsea Handler’s current show ends its seven year run on the E! channel on August 26. In the run-up to Thursday’s announcement, speculation ran rampant about Chelsea Handler’s possible plans, with most observers guessing Chelsea was headed for one of the major networks. That, however, was never in the cards for Handler, she explains:

“If I was going to continue working in this industry, I knew I had to do something outside the box to keep myself interested,” the 39 year-old Chelsea said.

So Chelsea Lately ends in August, and the new show on Netflix won’t begin until early 2016… what does Handler have scheduled in the intervening year?

Quite a bit, actually.

First of all, on Friday evening in Chicago, Chelsea will be recording a comedy special entitled Uganda Be Kidding Me. When this special airs in October, it’ll air on Netflix. Also in the works for Handler are a series of docu-comedies, with such disparate subjects as politics, Silicon Valley, the NBA draft, and NASCAR.

It was no surprise that Chelsea Handler’s relationship with E! had fizzled after seven years. People reported that while a guest on the Howard Stern Show, Handler had called the E! network a failure and “a sad, sad, place to live.”

E! struck back, countering that Handler’s show had slid in the ratings, down 25% in the audience that the E! network sells to advertisers, viewers from 18 to 49. Chelsea Handler averages just over half a million viewers, which puts her behind the likes of John Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Conan O’Brien.

Netflix executives, however, appear outwardly excited about the addition of Handler to the streaming service.

“The internet has disrupted many of the conventions of traditional television, and 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,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. Sounds like Chelsea Handler has a big challenge in front of her.