News / TV

Netflix breaks it off with Joel McHale, Michelle Wolf weekly talk shows

Talk shows are going to have to try harder to break through the massive programming offerings of Netflix.

Chelsea Handler couldn’t do it.

And now the streaming giant has broken off both The Break with Michelle Wolf and The Joel McHale Show, both of which had just debuted earlier this year. Multiple sources broke the news tonight.

The Break offered topical monologues from Wolf, who had just broken through over the past year thanks to her first HBO stand-up comedy special and her performance this spring at the White House Correspondents Dinner. But taped comedy sketches were lacking. And so, too, were viewers. Or buzz after the premiere. Wolf’s 10-episode season began in May, airing new episodes on Sundays through July 29. Netflix had even begun putting full episodes of The Break on YouTube for free to entice word of mouth.

McHale’s show, meanwhile, was everything you had loved about The Soup on E!, but without the constraints of E! And yet. After an initial 13-episode season that produced new topical content weekly from February through April, the show came back in July with six new episodes, but all at once. Bad idea?

Netflix hasn’t given up on talk shows, entirely.

They’ve just announced an October launch for Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj — which may not look or feel like a traditional talk show, though. And Norm Macdonald is a’coming, too, with a new version of his video podcast series.

And their other existing talk shows feature proven old-timers: David Letterman’s monthly My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, which functions more like a podcast than a talk show; and Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which is a peek behind the curtains and the┬ácarburetors of the elite comedians and their mindsets.


Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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