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Chelsea Handler to Star in Talk Show for Netflix in 2016

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June 19 (Bloomberg) -- Comedian Chelsea Handler, whose “Chelsea Lately” late-night program is ending this year, will host a new talk show for Netflix Inc. under an agreement that also includes five specials.

Handler’s show will begin in early 2016, Los Gatos, California-based Netflix, the world’s largest subscription streaming service, said in a statement today. The first special, focusing on her stand-up act, will be released Oct. 10.

While the company hasn’t decided on the frequency of Handler’s program, a talk show opens the door for more newsy or unscripted content. The project marks a departure for Netflix, which focuses its original programming on scripted series like “House of Cards,” the thriller featuring Kevin Spacey. Netflix typically offers all episodes at once, letting viewers choose when to watch.

“It is giving a very successful comedian and author the opportunity to re-imagine topical talk for an on-demand, global audience,” Jonathan Friedland, a Netflix spokesman, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

The 39-year-old comedian had let CBS Corp. know she was interested in taking over that network’s “The Late Late Show” after host Craig Ferguson leaves, a person with knowledge of the matter said in April. CBS Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves had said women were being considered for the job. A female host would provide a contrast to the all-male lineup that now dominates late-night broadcast television and may attract new viewers.

“Chelsea Lately” will end its run on Comcast Corp.’s E! network on Aug. 26, according to today’s statement.

Netflix fell 1.6 percent to $441.39 at the close in New York and has gained 20 percent this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Bruce Rule in New York at brule1@bloomberg.net; Rob Golum in Los Angeles at rgolum@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecile Daurat at cdaurat@bloomberg.net Bruce Rule, James Callan

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