Over the past few days, there have been a lot of conversations around the streaming industry that Netflix was looking to finally get into live broadcasting, but most of that talk had to do with streamer potentially bidding on live sports rights. However, on Thursday, the world’s largest streaming service announced that its first-ever live broadcast would be a comedy special featuring Chris Rock.
While the streamer did not share much in terms of details about the project — which will be a follow-up to Rock’s 2018 special “Tambourine,” which also streamed on Netflix — it did say that the forthcoming special will air in early 2023.
“Chris Rock is one of the most iconic and important comedic voices of our generation,” Robbie Praw, Netflix’s vice president of stand-up and comedy formats said. “We’re thrilled the entire world will be able to experience a live Chris Rock comedy event and be a part of Netflix history. This will be an unforgettable moment and we’re so honored that Chris is carrying this torch.”
In addition to “Tambourine,” earlier this year, Rock also appeared at the Netflix Is a Joke comedy festival in Los Angeles. It has been an interesting year for the former “Saturday Night Live” star; while presenting at the Academy Awards in March, the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, prompting her husband Will Smith to go up on stage and smack Rock in front of millions of television viewers. Will Smith would later go on to win the Oscar for Best Actor later that night.
While on tour since the awards ceremony, Rock has made references to the altercation without getting too deep into specifics. There was no confirmation if he will make mention of the incident during the upcoming Netflix special.
While the rest of the streaming world is seemingly investing in live sports rights, Netflix has been hesitant to get into those high-priced negotiations. Instead, it has been reported that the streaming giant is considering purchasing the broadcast rights to smaller, niche sports, or simply buying entire leagues in order to use its global reach to elevate the sport via a variety of different content types.
On the heels of introducing an ad-supported subscription option, adopting password-sharing countermeasures, the flirtation with live sports, and debuting its first live event, it is clear that Netflix is open to changing any and all of its longest-held principles in order to keep customers subscribed and engaged.
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