Late-night host Chelsea Handler’s tenure at E! will end in August with an hour-long broadcast of her show Chelsea Lately, the network announced Wednesday. Handler departs after seven years as the network’s premiere late-night personality.
Chelsea Lately will continue to air through Aug. 26, with a month-long series of special episodes and guests leading up to the finale.
The end of the late-night talker had long been anticipated. Handler’s contract with E! was set to expire at the end of the year, and she has been vocal about her desire to leave the network. The comedian told radio host Howard Stern in March that E! was “a sad, sad place to live” and has openly courted other potential employers.
“We are very proud of Chelsea Lately’s long-running success and the unique space that the series carved out in late night television,” said E! president Suzanne Kolb. “Chelsea brought a distinct voice to late night with her acerbic wit and fearless commentary and we look forward to providing fans with a memorable send-off that lives up to that tradition.”
Handler said, “I myself am more surprised than anyone that I was able to hold down a job for seven years, and it was a fantastic seven years. I will always look back at my time on E! as most people look back at their time in college. I’m glad I went.”
Handler’s departure is the latest in a series of shifts in the late night landscape that began when David Letterman announced in April that he would retire next year from CBS’ Late Show. Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report was named shortly thereafter as a successor, prompting speculation about the future of CBS’ 12:30 a.m. host, Craig Ferguson. During that period, Handler posted a photo on Instagram of herself holding paperwork bearing the CBS logo, and captioned the photo, “Business meeting.”
The photo prompted a CBS spokesperson to tell the website Vulture, “There are no discussions with Chelsea Handler regarding the network's 12:30 late night broadcast.” Ferguson announced two weeks later that he would be leaving CBS, but no replacement has been named.
E! moved earlier to secure other key talent, extending E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic’s overall deal with the network and bringing in Extra anchor Maria Menounos to host a one-hour entertainment news program as part of her own overall deal.