Netflix Hires Chelsea Handler: Streaming Giant's Biggest Risk to Date?

Netflix Hires Chelsea Handler: Streaming Giant's Biggest Risk to Date?

Chelsea Handler is getting in bed with streaming giant Netflix. Will the two regret the coupling?

Handler, the rowdy comic who hosted Chelsea Lately on E! for several years, will be the star of several projects for Netflix.

In 2015, Chelsea will create four new docu-comedy specials exclusively for Netflix 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. Handler will produce the stand-up special, docu-comedy specials, and new talk show along with her partners in Borderline Amazing, Tom Brunelle and Brad Wollack.  

It’s a bold move for both parties. The new streaming realm lacks its own “late night” style show, and Handler could have taken her act to a number of traditional outlets but chose a new media titan instead.

What should leave Netflix uneasy is Handler’s recent comments about trying to wash the Kardashians out of her hair.

To be quite honest I don’t really care about Justin Bieber and I don’t want to talk about him anymore. In order to make that happen I had to just stop doing my show. Straight away,” she tells Britain’s Daily Mail.

“You can sit around and complain about all that (bleep) and the Kardashians all day but if you’re participating in it then what can you do? It really didn’t feel great doing the show, and the only way to sort things out was to extricate myself from the entire situation.

Tormenting celebrities was a huge reason why Handler gained a sizable following. Does she really think her fan base wants to see her taking a page out of Dick Cavett’s cerebral playbook?

And Handler’s promise to get more political could be trouble. Her dalliances with political fare reveal her to be a doctrinaire liberal without the biting wit of a Jon Stewart to help her along. Chances are she’ll go heavily to the left and lose some folks along the way.

It’s a risk, plain and simple, But Netflix continues to gamble … and win … on content strategy. The company’s track record shows it knows where to place its bets best.