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Chelsea Handler’s new Netflix show has lost its showrunner

Chelsea (Photo: Netflix)

Three weeks into its experimental, three-episode-per-week run on Netflix, Chelsea Handler’s talk show Chelsea has parted ways with one of its major creative voices. Deadline is reporting that Bill Wolff, who helped develop the series with Handler, and who until recently served as its showrunner, has abruptly left the show. According to Netflix, Wolff—who’s a veteran of chat and talking head fare like The View and The Rachel Maddow Show—won’t be replaced in the showrunner role; reading between the lines, it sounds like most of his duties will shift over to Handler herself.

Chelsea has aired nine episodes so far, with three more to arrive next week (and every week from now until December, since Wolff’s departure doesn’t appear to have shaken up its shooting schedule.) Handler’s new series launched with a lot of fanfare earlier this month, with a heavy focus on its mixture of topical conversations and celebrity interviews—current Netflix star Ashton Kutcher was the most recent guest—with more evergreen material, designed to work for viewers who arrive to the series late through its binge-ready online archives.

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In that same pre-airing promotional run-up, Handler went on the offensive against her fellow talk show hosts, calling out Stephen Colbert in particular for refusing to innovate with the late-night formula. That’s a criticism that’s quickly returned to haunt the chat show veteran, with critics deriding her new series as “just another talk show,” too, albeit one that airs only three times a week on an unconventional platform. (Meanwhile, Netflix continues to keep all of its ratings information in a lightless, soundproofed vault, so there’s no way to know how many people are actually tuning in to see what Chelsea does.)

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