Money and influence have been the only things keeping Chelsea Handler tied to the E! cable channel.
Handler earns a reported $9 million annually as host of Chelsea Lately, fronted a reality spoof series starring her writers on E!’s After Lately, and is shepherding another pop-culture talk show on the channel with frequent Lately panelist Ross Mathews. But Handler has said for years she’s done talking about the Kardashians and other tabloid fodder.
And this time she apparently means it.
While her only public statement Sunday via Twitter @ChelseaHandler was: “Thank you, Austin. Back to la for my other job.” With a photo of her splayed onstage flying-V or upside-down A, for good measure…
..her new manager, Irving Azoff, released a statement, first to The Hollywood Reporter, then to others, that Handler will take her TV hosting services elsewhere when her E! contract expires at the end of 2014.
“Chelsea intends to leave when her contract expires. She hired me to figure out her life after E! We have at least seven suitors and many ideas.”
At the 92Y earlier this month, Handler echoed statements she made the last time she was negotiating her contract with E!, yearning for a time when she could do more than what’s expected from Chelsea Lately. “There’s only so many years you can talk about Justin Bieber,” Handler said at the 92Y. “I don’t give a shit about Justin Bieber…and I can’t pretend that I do.”
Later in her discussion with Ronan Farrow, Handler added:
“I definitely don’t feel challenged…whether it’s that impressive of a job to anybody isn’t really up for discussion. The fact is that I do it over and over and over again…It’s about setting the right example. Not just resting on your laurels and getting a paycheck. I don’t want to live my life like that.”
A ploy? Perhaps.
On a recent visit with Howard Stern, Handler suggested she’d enjoy a forum like Netflix.
But better to think of where she might want to end up talking on the TV in 2015. Such as on the same channel as Farrow — MSNBC — still within the NBCUniversal/Comcast universe.
Or perhaps on CNN. Where she took down Piers Morgan in his final hours.
Believe you this. As the only woman front and center as host of a successful late-night TV talk show in America in 2014, she’ll leverage that into an even stronger position next year. It’s not in her nature to do anything otherwise.
Above: Handler posing with the New York Times bestseller list, with her latest book of essays, “Uganda Be Kidding Me,” at the top.