News Briefs: Is Chelsea Handler Headed to Netflix?

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WHAT'S THE NEWS ON CHELSEA, LATELY?

... The question on everyone's minds these days—well, provided your name is Chelsea Handler—is, "Where the free-agent-to-be will end up when her contract with E! is through?" Welp, the newest tidbit is that Handler and Netflix are close to signing a deal to bring the late-night host to the streaming-video giant for a new series. The format of the program is yet to be decided, but could Netflix be angling to enter its own pony down at the talk-show track? I doubt it, as Netflix doesn't seem ready to play the daily game just yet. But Handler has also dabbled in sitcoms, with Are You There Chelsea? (which she wrote but did not star in) getting a run at NBC, so a comedy with Handler writing and starring is a more likely scenario. Handler, who ready to end Chelsea Lately and tore E! a new one during a March interview with Howard Stern, was most recently rumored to be headed to CBS after she posted a photo online of her reading CBS paperwork, but that proved to be a lie just like everything else on the internet (except for the stuff that I tell you, of course). [New York Post]


BUSINESS TIME

... Game of Thrones continues to break its own ratings records in its breakout fourth season. This week's episode (I reviewed it!) drew 6.9 million viewers, an all-time high for the series, as people undoubtedly tuned in to see Ser Pounce make his long-awaited debut. 6.9 million viewers is especially impressive considering HBO is a premium cable network that's only in about 32 million homes. [EW]

... Those excellent Game of Thrones numbers helped HBO launch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the network's Brit-fronted, Daily Show-esque weekly comedy news program, and it got off to a great start, with 1.1 million viewers sitting down for the initial viewing at 11pm. That was actually up from its lead-in Veep, which drew 922,000 viewers. Maybe John Oliver will cover this news next week. Oh! And while you're here, why not check out Cory's take on Oliver's debut? [EW]

... It's another week, so let's peruse the newest list of the most-pirated television shows, because you thieves out there love this stuff. This latest round of rankings, compiled last week, comes from the piracy tracking firm CEG TEK [Variety]:

  1. Game of Thrones
  2. The Big Bang Theory
  3. The Walking Dead
  4. Arrow
  5. How I Met Your Mother
  6. Breaking Bad
  7. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  8. Grey's Anatomy
  9. Revenge
  10. Once Upon a Time

... Does the busy space of media companies creating online original scripted series have room for one more? Yahoo! hopes so. The web company has announcing two half-hour comedies that are intended to compete with Netflix and Amazon's online offerings. Other Space comes from Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks) and follows a group of spacemen who arrive on Earth from an alternate universe. Sin City Saints comes from One Tree Hill executive producer Mike Tollin and centers on a pro basketball expansion team in Las Vegas. Both series have orders for eight episodes and are expected to be available by the end of this year or sometime next year. [Variety]

... Okay, does the same busy space have room for yet another option? Because Xbox is planning to join the fracas as well. Though Microsoft announced its plans for getting into online original programming last May, we now have concrete details. Starting this summer, Xbox will push out a handful of new projects. In the unscripted arena, there will be live-streams from stinky music festival Bonnaroo (June 13) and the docuseries Every Street United, a nine-episode ordeal that will search for the best street-soccer players in the world and coincide with the start of the World Cup. And in the scripted category, get ready for a sci-fi series called Humans, about synthetic people, which is targeting a 2015 release. As for the anticipated live-action Halo series being produced by Steven Spielberg... no updates. ARGH! However, an animated digital Halo feature is expected later this year. I guess I'll continue to watch live-streams of Titanfall until my wife gives me permission to buy an Xbone. [THR]

... TNA World Wrestling wrassler "Showtime" Eric Young is hosting a series on Animal Planet, because obviously that's a network that makes sense for wrestlers to call home. No Limits will follow Young as he travels the globe engaging in extreme physical activities (i.e. things I would never do) like chasing pythons in Florida, river boarding Class IV rapids in Tennessee, and climbing an iceberg in Alaska. This will actually be Young's second Animal Planet series; he also hosts Off the Hook: Extreme Catches. Look for 10 episodes of No Limits starting Friday, May 30 at 8pm. [Animal Planet via press release]



CASTING NEWS

... Comedian Sarah Silverman is done building a career around poop jokes. She's doing Orbit commercials, she's voicing animated characters, and now she's joining Showtime's Masters of Sex. The period drama has booked Silverman for a recurring role in Season 2, as a character named Helen. That's all we know about her, because the network isn't saying squat. Don't forget: Master of Sex is moving to summer this year, and Season 2 will premiere Sunday, July 13 at 10pm. [Showtime via press release]

... Comedy Central's fake-news show The Daily Show has added a new fake-news correspondent to its team of fake-news reporters. Michael Che, who's currently a staff writer for Saturday Night Live, will join Jon Stewart on TDS starting this June. Trivia to impress your friends: Che was the first comic to appear on Late Night with Seth Meyers! [Deadline]


STILL MORE HIMYM NEWS

... Still smarting from the angrifying How I Met Your Mother finale? Well, it could have been even more brutal. Star Alyson Hanigan says that heart-wrenching footage of titular mother Tracy's funeral was cut from the time-jumping montage in order to spare viewers the sadness. However, Hanigan believes its inclusion would have helped viewers process the fact that Ted did indeed mourn his wife before jumping back on the Robin bandwagon. Would you have wanted to see Tracy's funeral? [TV Line]


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