Chelsea Handler Could Bring Live TV to Netflix

Source: David Shankbone / blog.shankbone.org via Wikimedia Commons

Source: David Shankbone / blog.shankbone.org via Wikimedia Commons

Talk show host, author, and comedian Chelsea Handler may be leaving E! for Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) in a move that would take the successful host to a place she may prefer working, as well as give Netflix its first shot at live programming. A source who spoke to The New York Post said that, “Handler has a deal with Netflix, but the format is to be decided.” While both Handler and Netflix declined to comment on the matter, this adds to increasing speculation that Netflix will be the comedian’s new home after some critical comments she made about E! in an interview with Howard Stern several weeks ago.

“When I came to E! it was a much different network. It was bigger and it was cooler and now it’s just sad. It’s a sad place to live,” Handler said in the interview with Howard Stern. “They don’t know what they’re doing, they have no ideas, you know everything they do is just a failure.

“They think I’m the biggest bitch, they think I’m so difficult. I’m like, I’m not difficult, I’m honest. I do my job, I show up to my job … There’s no support system. None,” she went on to say.”They don’t know what they’re doing.” She points to the merger between Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and NBC Universal as something in particular that has taken a toll on the quality of the network. “E!’s just become an afterthought and it’s a sad, sad place to live. And that’s where I live, and I need to get a new house,” Handler said.

Handler went on to speak openly about how she feels her show has been mismanaged by E!. She said that her contract is up at the end of this year and that after making such public comments about her dissatisfaction with the network, the network would probably decide it’s time for her to go. “I wanna be more challenged. I wanna do something a little more riveting for me … I’m not that interested in these girls and boys and this celebrity nonsense,” Handler said. She confirmed that she has been approached by other networks and also said during the interview that she thinks Netflix would be a good place for her to go,”I like the whole idea of Netflix. I like the idea of people watching you when they can watch you.”

Netflix has had much success with its original programming including House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, which has driven subscriptions to a new high. In its first-quarter earnings report, Netflix said that it added another 4 million subscribers worldwide, finishing the quarter with 48.35 million total subscribers, up 31.2 percent on the year. Netflix’s original shows have been critically acclaimed and loved by audiences, but the streaming service has yet to tackle live television.

Handler’s late night talk show Chelsea Lately is currently one of E!’s most popular shows, but the host clearly doesn’t feel like she can reach her potential working for the network. Netflix would have a huge advantage over other streaming services if it starts showing live TV, as live TV is one of the main things holding online streaming back. It is basically the last advantage that traditional pay-TV has over streaming services. In order to see live programming like talk shows and sporting events, consumers still need to have cable or satellite TV, and if Netflix could change that, it would have a big advantage over other streaming services.

Netflix might need such an advantage as competition from Hulu and Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Prime Instant Video continues to heat up. Amazon just cut a deal with HBO that will give it access to more of the premium network’s programming than other streaming services have, including the entire series of popular shows like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under. Should Handler decide to bring late-night to Netflix, it seems such a deal would be mutually beneficial for both parties.

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