Netflix has announced its first-ever live stream – a Chris Rock special – that will air globally in 2023.
Kingpin’s historic broadcast on demand, which has opposed the idea of TV by appointment for more than a decade, will reach audiences around the world in early 2023.
This spring, Netflix was rumored to be considering showcasing live talent shows (complete with audience voting) and live comedy shows. Now we have confirmation that the company is entering the uncharted territory.
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Netflix describes Chris Rock’s show as a “huge global live event” and the first of its kind. Chris Rock currently has a special on Netflix Original available on demand, Tambourine 2018, but now everyone will bet on luck with the next show as it happens.
“Chris Rock is one of the most recognizable and important comedic voices of our generation,” said Robbie Brau, Netflix Vice President of Stand-Up Formats and Comedy in a press release. “We are thrilled that the whole world will be able to experience a live comedy event of Chris Rock and be a part of Netflix history. This will be an unforgettable moment and we are so proud of Chris carrying this torch.”
Rock is arguably the hottest comedy property right now, after his feud with Will Smith at the Academy Awards. The shocking scenes saw Smith (who went on incredibly to raise his Best Actor Oscar later that night) angrily to a joke on account of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, storming the stage and physically assaulting the host.
Rock did not tell the full story of what happened that night or its aftermath. If the upcoming stand-up special’s content tends this way, and Netflix is smart about billing, the special could break records for simultaneous streams around the world.
It’s no surprise that Netflix introduced stand-up comedy as its first live event. There is a dangerous air of unpredictability in the medium that can only be compared to live sports, and to which Netflix does not own any rights.
The broadcasting company also has experience hosting events. The Netflix Is a Joke Comedy Festival saw 330 comedians perform at 295 shows across Los Angeles last spring. If Chris Rock’s live event is a success, it could open the door for a live-streamed comedy festival.
As the company recently adopted an ad-supported category for the first time, Netflix appears to be turning to the television empire it once raged against, in order to revive faltering interest in the streaming service.