Chelsea Handler is not in the running for the 12:35 a.m. time slot, so says CBS.
The current host of E! late-night talker Chelsea Lately posted an Instagram photo Monday of her with a packet of papers, one of which prominently featured the CBS logo, alluding to the fact that she was in the market for a new project at the broadcast network. “Business meeting,” read the image caption.
But CBS isn’t offering much insight into Handler’s cryptic post. After reports surfaced that Handler could be a successor to Craig Ferguson at the Late Late Show, the network issued an official statement regarding the matter.
“There are no discussions with Chelsea Handler regarding the network’s 12:30 late-night broadcast,” a CBS spokesperson said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “Her meeting with CBS yesterday was a general meeting with our syndication group.”
THR broke the news last month that Handler intended on leaving E! after her contract with the cable network expired at the end of the year. Handler has been vocal about her dissatisfaction with E!, accusing the network of incompetent programming and blaming weak lead-ins for ratings declines. In a March 5 appearance on Howard Stern’s radio show, she described E! as “a sad, sad place to live,” adding, “They don’t know what they’re doing. They have no ideas. It’s a failure.”
Following the announcement that Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert would succeed David Letterman at the Late Show perch in 2015, CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler addressed the cloudy future of the 12:35 a.m. time period, which currently houses Ferguson’s Late Late Show. (Ferguson’s contract expires at the end of the year.)
“Craig is our 12:30 guy,” Tassler told THR. “We’ve been focused so intently on 11:30. We’re dealing with one hour of late-night at a time. We’ll have conversations about 12:30 very shortly. But our first order of business was to shore up 11:30.”
Vulture first reported CBS’ denial.