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The two unscripted entries — The Break With Michelle Wolf and The Joel McHale Show With Joel McHale — were only on the streaming service for a matter of months (the former premiered in May and the latter in February) before executives at the company decided to not bring them back for additional seasons.
Despite plentiful buzz after her controversial turn as this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner host, Wolf’s late-night entry failed to garner the kind of viewership that warrants a second season at the streaming giant. The same can be said for McHale’s Soup-esque talker, which offered a mix of greenscreen commentary and pretaped sketches.
Though the streamer has pushed aggressively into the late-night space, greenlighting shows from such comics as Hasan Minhaj, David Letterman, Norm Macdonald and Wolf, it has yet to figure out what a successful topical format looks like on its platform. Chelsea Handler’s since-canceled weekly foray was Netflix’s original attempt, followed by McHale’s series, which the streamer moved from a weekly rollout to an all-at-once episode dump after its premiere.
Other talk shows on the platform include Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. Coming up this fall are Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj, Norm Macdonald Has a Show and The Fix, a comedy panel show helmed by Jimmy Carr, Katherine Ryan and D.L. Hughley.
McHale had been eager to set up shop at Netflix, where he felt he had the freedom to skewer anyone and anything — even the streaming service itself. “When they said, ‘Stop making fun of the Kardashians,’ that was pretty much it,” he told The Hollywood Reporter of his former employer E! ahead of his new show’s launch. “Now we’re going to make fun of everything. We’re going to make fun of streaming services, we’re going to be making fun of reality shows in other countries. Of course, we will hit staples like The Bachelor or The Real Housewives. Those are like the basic food groups.” McHale will still appear on the streamer’s comedy series Santa Clarita Diet.
When Wolf’s weekly series was first announced, the 33-year-old joked that viewers could “expect the types of jokes my former bosses would tell me we couldn’t do on TV.” At the time, Netflix vp content Bela Bajaria added more earnestly: “We’re thrilled to be working with … a performer with a singular voice.” During the series’ brief run, Wolf herself generated considerable press attention and a handful of segments — including an “ICE Is” recruitment video and a salute to abortions, among others — cut through.
News of the show’s demise comes not long after Wolf — formerly of The Daily Show and Late Night With Seth Meyers — earned an Emmy nomination for her celebrated HBO comedy special Nice Lady.
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