Whatever happened between Chelsea Handler and E!, it wasn’t good. That’s been obvious for a long time, as she’s openly trashed the network — calling it a “sad, sad place to live” — and lobbied for new jobs before her “Chelsea Lately” contract was up. But the comedian even managed to take a dig at her (current!) parent company, NBCUniversal, in the announcement for her new Netflix series.
On Thursday, the streaming service announced that Handler will join with Netflix to create a talk show beginning in 2016. No word on how that will actually work except that “the show will debut simultaneously in all Netflix territories for members to enjoy however and whenever they like.”
“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.”
She continued: “I’m more excited than I’ve been in awhile, and the team at Netflix is the most forward thinking, alert group I’ve sat down with in ages. No offense to the Shahs of Sunset.”
Burn! Aside from that “Netflix is way better than anyone else” part, “Shahs of Sunset” is one of the many reality shows on Bravo, owned by NBCUniversal — which also owns E!, the network where Handler is currently employed with late-night series “Chelsea Lately.” She officially signs off Aug. 26.
Before this, Handler made no secret that she despised the E! network — and her manager told the media she was actively looking for another gig. When E! announced the series finale of her talk show this summer, she offered the most lukewarm departure statement ever: “I will always look back at my time on E! as most people look back at their time in college. I’m glad I went.”
However, her issues became evident back in March when she sat down with Howard Stern for an interview. In addition to expressing her distaste for the Kardashian popularity (E!’s favorite family), she talked about her annoyance of frequently being left out of the late-night TV conversation — and theorized it’s because she’s a woman, as opposed to the late-night boys club.
“Do you need to be on a bigger network?” Stern asked, as that could get her more attention.
“When I came to E! it was a much different network, you know?” Handler responded. “It was bigger and it was cooler. Funny, cool. Now it’s just sad. It’s a sad place to live. It’s sad. It’s just a sad network.”
“Why is it sad?” Stern pressed.
“They don’t know what they’re doing, they have no ideas … everything they do just is a failure,” Handler explained.
Stern started to ask if she’s ever sat down with executives to air these concerns. “Oh they think I’m the biggest [expletive]. They’re like, ‘She’s so difficult.’ I’m like, ‘I’m not difficult! I’m honest. I’m telling you, I show up to my job, I do my job, I’m doing what I supposed to do,’ ” Handler explained. “There’s no support system, none, none at all.”
Handler added that even when her staff added a new show, “After Lately,” the network put no marketing behind it. “They don’t help you, they don’t know what they’re doing,” she said. She guessed that since Comcast bought NBCUniversal, they were more concerned with other networks in the fold.
“E!’s just become a sad, sad place to live,” Handler concluded. “I might have to get a new house.”
And now she has one. We’ll see how this experiment goes. In addition to the talk show, Handler will create four comedy specials for Netflix in 2015, “featuring her efforts to gain a better understanding on a variety of subjects ranging from NASCAR to politics and from Silicon Valley to the NBA draft.”