For one thing, the company that popularized binge viewing will be releasing episodes in a radically old-fashioned way: one at a time. and remain on servers indefinitely, for subscribers to stream as they please—but it’s as close as Netflix has ever come to traditional appointment television.
What’s even more unusual for Netflix is that the show will be covering current events in some degree of real time.
network star turned streaming pioneer will be spending a large chunk of the next several years inside this soundstage.
The exact contours of the show are still being worked out by Handler’s staff of 50 producers, writers, editors, and researchers.
And”—she pauses for effect—”where they’ll be putting the bar.”If all goes according to plan—and things usually do in Handler’s world, even if she insists she never has a plan—the 41-year-old stand-up comedian turned E!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.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.And Netflix wants to be a part of that.” Near-live programming, he explains, fits with the company’s push to keep people paying .99 a month. They don’t care about nightly ratings—they care about subscribers coming back. As silly as it sounds, it feels good to do it.” It also makes smart business sense, undoubtedly providing leverage in negotiating with, say, major streaming companies. That means that each week this year, more than one new TV series, movie, documentary, stand-up special, or kids’ show will begin streaming, including Baz Luhrmann’s hip-hop drama, .And with Chelsea Handler, they see a talent with a passionate fan base and a person who knows how to use social media to drive awareness.” When Handler isn’t posting risqué photos of herself (“I think nudity is funny, especially when it’s inappropriate,” she says), she’s tweeting out a cascade of zingers, put-downs, and comedic observations. In June 2014, Handler and Netflix signed a deal reportedly valued at million—or five times what John Oliver is said to be paid by HBO—for the show, the docuseries, and a stand-up special for Netflix (She’s filming one of her talk show’s field reports, this one focusing on a personal trainer who believes that inhaling marijuana before a workout enhances the exercise experience. Family shows and ’80s movies are popular on the site, and users, via surveys, have expressed a demand for younger-skewing fare.“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.