NEW YORK — Netflix is expanding its empire of original content with a talk show to be hosted by Chelsea Handler.
The online TV network said Thursday that the outspoken comedian's new show will begin in early 2016. It will update the format of her current E! talk show, "Chelsea Lately," but retain the comedic focus on entertainment and cultural issues, Netflix said. No other details were provided.
Handler will end the seven-year run of "Chelsea Lately" on Aug. 26.
Her deal with Netflix begins with a standup performance premiering Oct. 10. Based on her tour, "Uganda Be Kidding Me," the special will be taped in Chicago on Friday.
In 2015, she will create four docu-comedy specials on subjects including NASCAR, politics, Silicon Valley and the NBA draft.
The 39-year-old Handler's planned departure from E! (which she announced in March) had sparked speculation that she might find a late-night home on a broadcast network. She swiftly dismissed those rumors.
"If I was going to continue working in this industry, I knew I had to do something outside the box to keep myself interested," she explained Thursday. "I wanted to sit with the cool kids at lunch so I approached Netflix to make sure they were as cool as I thought they were, and when I confirmed my suspicions, like with any other future lover, I made my move."
"Netflix is looking forward to reimagining the late-night talk show for the on-demand generation, starting with the late-night part," said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos.
Netflix, which began as an internet subscription service for movies and off-network TV shows, has in recent years expanded into original content. It has already scored with original scripted series including the political drama "House of Cards."
Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at [email protected] and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore