Netflix is the latest media company to throw its hat into the world of late-night talk shows — minus the late night.
Today the company announced that it has signed former cable network E! star and comedian Chelsea Handler for a new original talk show series. The news comes shortly after Handler decided not to renew her agreement with E! to continue hosting her seven-season-long late night show.
The odd part about this news is that talk shows don’t really translate well to an on-demand streaming video service like Netflix. As most people know, talk shows usually debut new episodes weekly (or nightly), contain lots of topical humor and discussion of current events and don’t generally stay appealing to viewers for an extended amount of time. In other words, a traditional talk show is the kind of evergreen content Netflix usually goes after.
”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 ,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarando in a statement.
While we don’t know much about new talk show, Netflix did state that the traditional format would be adjusted to make sense for the streaming video service. Yet the show will still have many of the basic components like celebrity interviews, funny segments, and lots of commentary about current events, Netflix said. Also interesting is that Handler was the one who approached Netflix about doing a talk show — and apparently was very convincing.
“If I was going to continue working in this industry, I knew I had to do something outside the box to keep myself interested,” Handler said in a statement.
“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.”
The contract with Handler also includes the debut of her hour-long stand-up special Uganda Be Kidding Me Live, which will debut in October. And in 2015, Handler will produce four additional stand-up comedy specials based on a handful of topics topics begging for ridicule. (Among those topics are NASCAR and, of course, Silicon Valley.)
The deal with Handler reaffirms Netflix’s previous guidance that it’s very interested in mimicking premium channel HBO’s slate of original content. Netflix has stated many times that it will eventually do both standup comedy specials and more original movies (scripted and documentaries), which HBO has traditionally always done. Now that Netflix is doing a talk show, it pushes the company into more direct competition with HBO.