After eight years as host of late-night talk show “Chelsea Lately” on E!, Chelsea Handler will be leaving the network when her contract is up at the end of the year.
Handler’s manager, Irving Azoff, confirms to The Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
He adds that Handler may even leave television and head to radio or another digital service.
E! was less forthcoming in their statement, saying, “Chelsea has nine months left on her contract and E! will not comment on the future of Chelsea Lately at this time.”
But the exit shouldn’t come as a shock to the network. While on Howard Stern’s radio show a few weeks ago, Handler called E! “a sad, sad place to live,” adding, “They don’t know what they’re doing. They have no ideas. It’s a failure.”
Handler, whose new book “Uganda be Kidding Me” is currently No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, is also in the midst of a lucrative 30-market stand-up tour and feels she is on top of her game.
The only thing the “Chelsea Lately” host has to lose by leaving E! is her massive paycheck from the late night show. “I don’t know if anybody’s going to pay her as much as E!,” one source told THR.
Handler reportedly makes $US9 million a year while delivering average viewership of 572,000 a night — a decline in ratings from two years ago.
While ad revenue from the show has also has dropped more than 15% to $US134.5 million, Azoff insists “Chelsea Lately” has consistently built on its lead-in and that this year, her show is averaging a 67% increase in viewers over the lead-in.
Handler said on Stern’s show that she may want to change mediums to a forum like Netflix, which could be a good move considering her no holds barred sense of humour.
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