Chelsea Handler Signs Universal Television Deal

Chelsea Handler has signed a first-look deal with Universal Television and Universal Television Alternative Studio. The move brings the comic back into the NBCUniversal fold following the cancellation of her much-hyped Netflix talk show last year.

Under the new agreement, Handler will develop and produce scripted and unscripted programming for the studios.

“Chelsea’s singular voice has long stood out among a crowded TV landscape, and we’re excited that she is bringing her unbridled creativity and energy to our studio,” said Universal TV president Pearlena Igbokwe. “We look forward to the many projects to come with Chelsea’s signature flair.”

Universal TV Alternative Studio president Meredith Ahr added, “Chelsea has the rare ability of making you truly think while making you laugh. She is bursting with ideas, and we can’t wait to tap into the unscripted side of Chelsea’s imagination.”

Handler is executive producing the upcoming scripted series  “Unspeakable” for Hulu and drama “I Hate the Internet” for TNT.

I’ve spent most of my life telling personal stories about myself,” Handler said. “Whether it’s been through comedy or books, everything has been about my life. I’m excited to have this opportunity to work with NBCUniversal and put my focus and energy into telling other people’s stories and developing entertaining content all around.”

In October, Netflix canceled Handler’s talker “Chelsea” after two seasons. The series was the streaming service’s first foray into the talk-show format, but was troubled from early on, jettisoning its showrunner early in the first season and undergoing a significant format change in the second that saw the number and frequency of episodes scaled back. None of the tinkering appeared to work, as the show failed to capture buzz.

Handler signed a deal with Netflix in 2014 that covered the talk show and several reality-style documentaries. The move was hailed at the time as a major step for Netflix and for Handler, who had departed her longtime home at NBCUniversal-owned cable channel E! in dramatic fashion. Handler hosted the late-night series “Chelsea Lately” on E! from 2007 to 2014, but repeatedly criticized the network in the months leading up to her show’s end, and continued to do so long after, saying of E! as recently as 2016, “You’re a reflection of the company you keep, and I wasn’t impressed with anybody. The people I was working with on the network side, they never could think big. I just wanted to leave, to be somewhere else.”

Handler is represented by UTA, Irving Azoff and attorney Craig Jacobson.

More TV

  • America Ferrera'Superstore' TV show photocall, Comic

    America Ferrera Blasts 'Send Her Back' Chant: 'Embarrassing and Shameful'

    America Ferrera has been a longtime political activist who has focused a large part of her work on immigrant rights. She’s now speaking out about the chant of “send her back” targeting Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar that was shouted at a President Donald Trump rally earlier this week. “It’s devastating and shocking and embarrassing and [...]

  • Veronica Mars -- "Spring Break Forever"

    Kristen Bell Reveals 'Veronica Mars' Season 4 is Streaming Right Now on Hulu

    In true “Veronica Mars” fashion, Kristen Bell and co. had a pretty big twist in store for fans at the end of the show’s Comic-Con panel. The actress and her co-stars revealed that season 4 of the series is available to stream on Hulu today, as opposed to the previously announced release date of July [...]

  • Jenna Elfman as Naomi - Fear

    'Fear the Walking Dead' Renewed for Season 6 at AMC

    “Fear the Walking Dead” has been renewed for a sixth season at AMC. The announcement was made at the show’s panel during San Diego Comic-Con on Friday. In addition, it was announced that Colby Minifie, Peter Jacobson, and Colby Hollman will be joining the show. The second half of Season 5 is slated to debut [...]

  • Amy Sherman-Palladino - Outstanding Writing for

    'Mrs. Maisel' Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino Honed Her Writing Skills on 'Roseanne'

    Last year Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” made Emmy history with wins for both comedy writing and directing, becoming the first woman to achieve that double. On July 16, her show, a ’50s period piece starring Rachel Brosnahan as an up-and-coming comedian in New York, was nominated for 20 Emmys, including outstanding [...]

  • James Corden

    James Corden to Develop Animated Comedy Series 'Dead Henry' at Fox (EXCLUSIVE)

    In one of the first deals this development season, James Corden has set up an animated comedy project at Fox. Titled “Dead Henry,” it is described as a buddy comedy set in the limitless but strangely familiar world of heaven, where Henry searches for the meaning of life in the afterlife. Corden is credited as [...]

  • Crypt-TV-Facebook

    Facebook Signs Deal With Crypt TV for Slate of Five Horror Series

    Crypt TV, the digital studio founded by Eli Roth and Jack Davis and backed by Jason Blum, expanded its deal with Facebook, inking a content partnership to create a slate of five horror and monster-themed series exclusively for Facebook Watch. For Facebook Watch, it’s one of the first deals for a full slate of content [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content