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The streaming giant has canceled its first talk show after a two-season run. Handler, who made the announcement Wednesday on her social media pages, is expected to focus on activism. Netflix will continue its relationship with Handler, who will partner with the streamer on an original documentary that highlights her perspective on the current political landscape.
“Like so many across the country, the past presidential election and the countless events that have unfolded since have galvanized me. From the national level down to the grassroots, it’s clear our decisions at the ballot box next year will mark a defining moment for our nation,” Handler wrote on Twitter. “For these reasons, I’ve decided not to return for another season of Chelsea, and instead devote as much time as I can to becoming a more knowledgeable and engaged citizen and to focus on projects that have significance to me. My goal is to be better informed, raise my voice, and participate in a more meaningful way. I want to travel the country and visit areas and people I don’t know enough about, speak at colleges and listen to students, and gain a better understanding of our political divide. I have joined forces with EMILY’s List to elect more women to public office, register people to vote, and campaign for candidates who are fighting for women’s rights.
“I’m excited to share that I will continue my partnership with Netflix, working together on a documentary where I’ll engage with people I don’t talk with enough – people of different ethnicities, religions and political philosophies,” she continued. “Netflix could not be more understanding, and I’m grateful for their continued support. New episodes of Chelsea will continue to stream weekly until the end of this year.”
Netflix’s Chelsea launched in May 2016 to lackluster reviews, airing three nights a week with a running time between 20 and 40 minutes. Showrunner Bill Wolff (The View) exited three weeks into the series’ run, with Handler noting she would run the show solo going forward. Season two, which had a 30-episode commitment, shifted to a weekly hourlong format that saw Handler venturing outside of the studio with travel to India, Europe, Montana and Washington, D.C., among other locations.
The format change was similar to Handler’s four-part Netflix docuseries Chelsea Does, which featured the host taking on more serious topics including drugs, racism and marriage.
Handler opened up to The Hollywood Reporter about the “rocky start” for Chelsea in July at the Democratic National Convention. “There were a couple weeks where I was like, ‘What the fuck am I doing?'” she said at the time. “Then I made the adjustment and was up and running and got the train on the track. And now it’s great. It’s exactly what I wanted to do. I get to talk about all different topics. I get to interview people I’m interested in.”
The news comes as late-night hosts continue to make headlines for politically charged commentary. Many have signed long-term deals to remain in position through the next presidential election. Handler was one of four women in the late-night space (TBS’ Samantha Bee, Hulu’s Sarah Silverman and BET’s Robin Thede are the others).
For Netflix, the decision to end Chelsea comes as the streamer is pushing further into other talk-show fare, including an upcoming David Letterman-fronted docuseries as well as Bill Nye’s talk show.
Handler, meanwhile, is developing the best-selling book I Hate the Internet as a potential drama series at TNT and will focus on personal projects, including writing a book and the Netflix documentary. Additional details about the upcoming doc will be revealed at a later date.
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