5:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Netflix Wins Bidding War for Pair of Ali Wong Stand-Up Specials (Exclusive)
Ali Wong is cashing in at Netflix.
The comedian has closed a rich deal with the streamer to do two new stand-up specials for the service. The first special will launch in 2020, with a second to follow at a date to be determined.
The deal brings Wong back to the streamer where she broke out with 2016 stand-up special Baby Cobra and last year's Hard Knock Wife, both of which were filmed while she was pregnant.
Sources say HBO was aggressively pursuing a deal with Wong for a stand-up special for the premium cable network as well as a scripted show at parent company WarnerMedia's forthcoming streaming service, HBO Max. Sources say WarnerMedia offered north of $10 million for the stand-up special alone. Wong's Netflix deal is worth in the eight figures for both specials, sources note.
"Ali is electric," said Robbie Praw, director of original stand-up comedy programming at Netflix. "She offers a completely distinct voice in the culture, and audiences all over the world have responded to her raw, unfiltered humor. We’re so proud to make Netflix the home of her comedy specials for years to come."
Wong's history with Netflix also includes a voice role opposite Tiffany Haddish in animated comedy Tuca and Bertie (which the streamer canceled after one critically praised season) and an arc on Big Mouth. Additionally, she starred in, wrote and produced feature Always Be My maybe for the streamer. Her credits include ABC's American Housewife, Inside Amy Schumer and writing on Fresh Off the Boat. She's repped by UTA and Hansen Jacobson.
The news comes as comedian Mo'Nique is suing Netflix for racial and gender discrimination over the $500,000 offer she received to do a stand-up special. Netflix responded to the suit with a statement in which the company said it "believe[s] our opening offer to Mo'Nique was fair — which is why we will be fighting this lawsuit."