When Chelsea Handler announced that, after eight years on E!, she intended to leave the network following the expiration of her contract at the end of the year, I expected something big. This morning, my expectations were confirmed, with the announcement that Handler had signed a massive deal with Netflix to host a talk show for the streaming site that would air in 2016. (The deal also includes a stand-up special, Uganda Be Kidding Me, which will premiere in October, and four "docu-comedy" specials in 2015, in which Handler tries to learn about a variety of subjects like NASCAR and Silicon Valley.) In a press release, Handler said, "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." And she's right: This is a really cool move. It also might be Netflix's first major misstep.
I'm not talking show-wise — one could argue that Lillyhammer, Hemlock Grove, and Derek fall anywhere from decent to subpar on the quality scale. No, I mean in terms of its ambitions. It's clear that Netflix is trying to expand its demographic reach and subscriber base with this play. About the deal,...
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