The $25 million two-year deal that Chelsea Handler just chalked with the E! network says something about the enterprising queen of late-night TV talk. She sure knows how to negotiate.
Last month, when I interviewed Handler on stage at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, she was in the middle of negotiating with NBC Universal's (CMCSA) E!--playing hardball, dropping hints that she might leave for a rival network.
When I asked her for her best negotiating tips, here's what she said:
"I don't listen to anyone or any advice because I know exactly what I want and how I want it."
And when an agent or a manager says, 'You can't ask for that...that's not done," what does Handler say? "Well, why don't you go ask?!"
"And then you get it," she said, instructing the MPW audience: "You have to ask for what you want. Just because there are parameters that have been set doesn't mean they can't be blown open."
For what it's worth (that is, $25 million), Handler's new contract with E! calls for her to continue to be host and executive producer of Chelsea Lately through 2014 and develop other projects through her company, Borderline Amazing Productions. Handler's company produces her After Lately, a spinoff show, as well as Chelsea Lately, which is the most-watched late-night talk show among female viewers, 18 to 34.
An increasingly valuable franchise at NBC Universal, Handler is, in addition to her E! deal, executive producing and appearing in Are You There, Chelsea?, a sitcom based on one of her best sellers, Are you There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. The show will premiere on January 11.
Of course, a stand-up comic does not turn herself into a multi-media brand without rewarding the folks who helped her along the way. To celebrate her E! deal, Handler decided to give $1,000 cash to each of 138 staffers.
Yes, she is generous--and cunning too. "I probably shouldn't say this," Handler told me at the MPW Summit, going on to explain how she sometimes uses her staffers as negotiating bait to get sweet deals for herself. Here's Handler on her ultimate negotiating tip...
It's strange to fathom Chelsea Handler, Gloria Steinem, and Warren Buffett collaborating to reform America's tax code. But at the recent Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, the edgy late-night talk-show host, the feminist icon, and the famed investor united around the "Buffett Rule," his proposal to lift taxes on the super-rich and equalize tax rates across classes. "I couldn't be more pleased," says Buffett, clearly pumped about his new supporters. MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 19, 2011 11:16 AM ET
It was a riot having Chelsea Handler at last week's Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Handler, whose business is media (two talk/reality programs on E!, a primetime sitcom coming soon to NBC (CMCSA), a growing stack of best-selling books), conducted a sharp and funny interview with another well-known media entrepreneur: Arianna Huffington, the queen of content at AOL (AOL). Handler also met Gloria Steinem at the Summit and invited the MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 14, 2011 1:05 PM ET
The Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit kicks off in two weeks with a twist on mentoring: 35 high school seniors will interview certain inspiring women leaders—including fashion entrepreneur Tory Burch, Lululemon (LULU) CEO Christine Day, Gilt Group Chairman Susan Lyne, singer Rosanne Cash—about success and how to get there.
Also in this mix of MPW mentors: Tyra Banks. The supermodel-cum-media entrepreneur created the TV hit, America's Next Top Model, has released MOREPatricia Sellers - Sep 21, 2011 9:00 AM ET
"If Twitter is the telephone, we're the conversation."
That comment was a highlight of Fortune Brainstorm Tech's "Future of Television" discussion on Thursday—even though the person who said it wasn't in the room.
No offense to the panelists on stage: Disney (DIS) Media Networks co-chair Anne Sweeney, CBS (CBS) exec Nancy Tellem, and NBC Universal's (CMCSA) Lauren Zalaznick. But the remark--which moderator Jason Hirschhorn said former MTV Networks (VIA) CEO Judy McGrath MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 22, 2011 11:35 AM ET
Last fall, in Oprah's Next Act, Oprah Winfrey talked about how she has learned to embrace her power.
Well, she did that today, by naming herself CEO of OWN, her new cable network that's been struggling to find its audience.
So much for the life of leisure Oprah once imagined she might have after her daytime talk show ended. ("La-di-da, I'll do a show and then I'll go have lunch with my MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 13, 2011 5:05 PM ET
I recently met Buck Brannaman, the star of the new documentary Buck, at a screening hosted by Tom and Meredith Brokaw. This laconic cowboy cast a spell on the former NBC anchor and his wife, who have a home in Montana and got to know him up there in horse country. Buck cast a spell on me too. He was the inspiration for the best-selling novel "The Horse Whisperer" and MOREPatricia Sellers - Jun 17, 2011 3:00 PM ET
If you read the stories about Laura Ziskin, the Hollywood producer who died of cancer on Sunday at age 61, you'll get a glimpse of a woman who made a lot of difference without a lot of fanfare.
When she made movies like No Way Out and Pretty Woman and As Good as It Gets, she pioneered in a man's business and created a string of major hits.
When she produced the MOREPatricia Sellers - Jun 14, 2011 12:43 PM ET
It's a stunner that Dick Ebersol quit NBC Universal (CMCSA) yesterday. The man who ran NBC Sports for 22 years. The King of the Olympics. The guy who hired Lorne Michaels, who created Saturday Night Live. Ebersol produced SNL during a short stint outside sports entertainment -- and got the girl when actress Susan Saint James hosted the show. They fell in love and married.
None of that drama, though, compares MOREPatricia Sellers - May 20, 2011 3:55 PM ET
Buffett will appear tonight on the one hour NBC season finale of The Office at 9/8c.
Tonight on the season finale of The Office, a galaxy of stars will be jostling to replace the hapless Michael Scott as boss of Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch. You'll see Jim Carrey, Ray Romano, Ricky Gervais, and...Warren Buffett.
It's a quick cameo for the famous investor, but Buffett had a juicier role last month when he starred MOREPatricia Sellers - May 19, 2011 2:42 PM ET
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