Chelsea Handler is gearing up for the debut of her new late-night talk show, the appropriately titled Chelsea, so she’s doing all kinds of press ahead of its May 11 premiere. The show will “air” in the previously-not-coveted 12:01am PT slot (that’s 3am for you East Coasters), but Handler isn’t just looking to push the boundaries of the fourth dimension by stretching the definition of “late night.” In a new interview with The New York Times, Handler said she’s going to buck with some late-night conventions, because she’s bored with the current state of things.
Handler has eight years of talk-show experience under her belt as the former host of Chelsea Lately, where she was never one to let a celebrity interview drag on. She plans to bring a similar spirit to Chelsea and “emulate Dick Cavett” by inviting guests from disparate industries/fields to interact with her as well as each other. But because the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one that is ever-expanding, Handler’s already taped a segment with actors from the franchise. Still, Handler could make things interesting/uncomfortable by inviting DCEU resident Ben Affleck to mope over tapas.
When Handler gets to talking about the lay of the late-night landscape, she notes that “there are 10 or 11 guys doing what used to be done by two guys.” But Handler isn’t exactly focusing on shaking things up as a woman host—she has, after all, already done this. Handler’s words are chalked up to boredom with the scene, and she singles out The Late Show With Stephen Colbert for being Letterman Lite:
“Look what’s going on with Stephen Colbert and that show,” she said. “What is that? He’s being himself and he’s not. He didn’t go in and make a different show. He’s just following in the footsteps of someone else.”
Handler’s talk show will be a topical one, though that in and of itself isn’t guaranteed to ward off tedium, especially since there are multiple offerings in that area. The Times reached out to Full Frontal With Samantha Bee executive producer Jo Miller about sharing “subjects” with Chelsea, but she just affirmed that there’s plenty of room for other hosts and shows.
What will be a bigger hurdle for the show is Netflix viewers’ “wait to see” attitude about its content, because a presidential candidate-skewering segment probably won’t go over as well once the election—and possibly the world (we kid, we kid)—is over. But Netflix’s Ted Sarandos isn’t too worried, telling the publication that “the show is built for that. Meaning that it’s topical, but it’s not a melting ice cube.”