In yet another instance highlighting Netflix’s willingness to pay top dollar for premium content, the streaming giant recently inked a deal with Chris Rock for two new stand-up specials. According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix will pay Rock $40 million for the two specials, easily making it the highest payday for a stand-up special in history.
The first special will be taped sometime in 2017 and will presumably air later in the year. A follow-up special, we would imagine, will likely arrive sometime in 2018 or 2019. Aside from the excitement that naturally accompanies Rock’s return to stand-up after an 8-year hiatus — his last special was 2008’s Kill the Messenger — a larger takeaway is that Netflix is more than willing to throw its weight around and compete for content traditionally dominated by outlets like HBO. To that point, Netflix’s deal with Rock all the more impressive given the comedian’s long history with HBO dating back to The Chris Rock Show which from 1997-2000.
Touching on this, The Hollywood Reporter adds:
Given Rock’s recent Emmy nomination for directing HBO’s [Amy] Schumer special, the deal at Netflix should be considered a big win for the streaming giant, which landed the in-demand comedian’s specials following a multiple-network bidding war. The move also is a blow to HBO, where in addition to the Schumer special, Rock has had a 20-year history with the premium cable network that previously aired specials including Bigger & Blacker and Never Scared as well as his talk show The Chris Rock Show.
In a statement touting the deal with the legendary comedian, Netflix COO Ted Sarandos said: “Chris Rock is a beloved actor and director, and his remarkable stand-up makes him comic royalty. There is no one like him, and Netflix offers the global platform and creative freedom that will serve as a perfect home for someone with his incredible talent.”
While soundbites like these are often draped with hyperbole, there’s no exaggeration on Sarandos’ part here. Rock is unequivocally comic royalty and Netflix’s deal with Rock is a huge score for the company.