Netflix’s first stab at a talk show, “Chelsea”, will proceed sans a showrunner. The talk show has signed with Netflix for ninety episodes released three per week and streamed on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. It’s been three weeks with nine episodes total and former exec Bill Wolff has already been removed from the project seemingly permanently (via The Hollywood Reporter).
Bill Wolff had been showrunner for Netflix’s latest Chelsea Handler project since September and worked extensively with the comedienne in pre-production for those nine months. His start with the talk show began just days after his rocky one-year stint rebranding “The View” ended. No reasons for his sudden departure have been leaked, whether it’s related to the show’s lukewarm critical reception, Handler’s acerbic persona leaking into the creative process, a different personal issue or a move on Netflix’s behalf. However, the second reason would be unlikely as the duo had so much time to collaborate and gauge their professional compatibility. Both Wolff and Handler have released amicable statements about each other and Netflix has been equally tight-lipped.
Other talk shows have flourished with especially involved hosts and no showrunner, such as “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” for its first seven months. However, a showrunner has now been appointed there, (Chris Licht of “CBS This Morning”). Even though Handler severed her relationships at E! gruesomely and publicly on “The Howard Stern Show”, Netflix has their pick of qualified replacements to finish out the show’s episode order with.
If not, Handler’s had plenty of experience as an executive producer on her projects. True, being her own showrunner would be a marked jump in responsibilities, but Handler’s likely up to the task. Whether the fledgling show could survive that professional growth is questionable, but Handler obviously found herself a soft spot with Netflix.