The streaming service is quickly expanding its global reach and is now live in more than 190 countries, including Russia and India.The only major nation missing is China, due to government regulations.
What’s even more unusual for Netflix is that the show will be covering current events in some degree of real time.What’s certain is that the program, called , will stream three nights a week—Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays—and feature interviews with a variety of guests about often touchy topics: “abortion, parenthood, the electoral college . .” she says, by way of examples, plus a regular dose of Handler’s bawdy, transgressive humor.It will feature taped field reports—mini versions of the four hour-plus documentaries that debuted on Netflix back in January. You’re not going to turn it on three nights a week and have an opening monologue, a guest, and a band.“People come and pitch me ideas,” she says, gesturing vaguely toward where a lazy Susan–style stage she’s proposed might go (“There’ll be a section if I’m interviewing three or four people, the way Dick Cavett sometimes did, and another if I’m interviewing one of the show’s correspondents,” she explains). But a talk show that runs on a streaming service—especially one that prides itself on giving talent virtually unlimited creative freedom, that is intent on rewiring the viewing habits of the whole world, and that has a billion budget with which to do all of this—can be pretty much whatever its host wants it to be.On Netflix, there are no ads, no ratings (the company has never revealed how many people watch its shows, much to the annoyance of its competition), and no network notes, at least none that Handler can recall. Even so, Handler’s show will mark a major departure.Netflix added five new comedy series last year, plus high-profile docs such as the true-crime thriller Handler has shot a number of these mini docs, not all of them in the comfort of her tastefully decorated home—which happens to be Esther Williams’s old mansion, remodeled with ultramodern conveniences, including a guest bathroom with an electronic toilet control panel so high-tech you need a degree in physics just to flush.Last week, she had flown to Moscow (“a horrible place,” she notes, making a face) to do a segment on young girls in the Russian figure-skating program.This is a move that CEO Reed Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos had hinted at during an earnings call last October.“On the news side, we are definitely being more adventurous,” Sarandos told reporters, somewhat cryptically.Netflix 2016 The four-part docuseries, with each one-hour episode devoted to a single topic (marriage, racism, drugs, and Silicon Valley), served as a teaser for her upcoming three-times-a-week talk show, which will debut on the streaming service in May.—“I’ve never actually been in here before,” she says.