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Netflix Gets Topical With a Chelsea Handler Talk Show, But What Does That Mean?

Photo of Liz Shannon Miller By Liz Shannon Miller | Indiewire June 19, 2014 at 12:07PM

Here are things you don't necessarily think of when you think of Netflix: Timely or talk show. Yet, that's what the company best known for enabling your binge-viewing has in store.
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Chelsea Handler
Lloyd Bishop/NBC

Here are things you don't necessarily think of when you think of Netflix: Timely or talk show. Yet, that's what the company best known for enabling your binge-viewing has in store -- Netflix has brought on Chelsea Handler to do what she does best: Chat with people.

Beyond the words "Chelsea Handler talk show," not much is known about this announced project, except for the fact that Handler will be addressing "issues of the day" (including schedule, daily versus weekly episodes, and the like). 

But the show will be available across all 41 countries where Netflix is available. Which makes it fascinating to imagine what a talk show geared towards a global audience might aim focus at. American talk shows take on state politicians who have screwed up, reality TV events and other local ephemera  -- how do you write jokes that people in America, Brazil and Norway will all enjoy? 

And in a digital era, it's equally fascinating to imagine how Handler might build traction within the Netflix infrastructure, given that the way "The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon" and other shows have built a following by working with YouTube to highlight key moments. Beyond clever promotions for its existing properties, Netflix doesn't show much interest in reaching out beyond the paywall -- which makes sense, given that Netflix's business model is built on subscriptions. Will that change? Hard to say, but if Netflix hopes to make this show buzzy, that might prove key. 

Handler has a following, a brand and a story that will attract attention during this whole development process. Will that be enough to build something which is technically totally antithetical to Netflix as we know it? That now becomes the question.

This article is related to: Chelsea Handler, Netflix





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