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
It was a double hit to Fortune's Most Powerful Women list last Tuesday when Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz and Bank of America's (BAC) Sallie Krawcheck got fired.
Bartz, No. 10 in our 2010 MPW rankings, went out with a bang--as my explosive interview with her, F-bombs included, shows. Meanwhile, Krawcheck, BofA's global wealth management chief and No. 24 on our list, exited without a sound.
I know both women well, and it's worth observing that MOREPatricia Sellers - Sep 12, 2011 9:26 AM ET
Public-relations executive Richard Edelman writes in his blog this week that he wants women to occupy half of the senior roles in his company by 2016.
"Our goal is simple—50% of those on Strategy Committee, Operating Committee, GCRM and practice leadership will be women by 2016," he writes. "They will have earned the positions; there will not be a quota."
Edelman, who is president and CEO of Edelman, the world's largest independent public-relations MOREStephanie N. Mehta, Deputy Managing Editor - Sep 2, 2011 10:49 AM ET
Most women don't go for it, career-wise, like the guys do. Sukhinder Singh Cassidy breaks that mold. A onetime star at Google (GOOG), where was president of Asia-Pacific and Latin American operations, she has restlessly rotated through the startup world--from Amazon.com (AMZN) to OpenTV to News Corp.'s (NWS) BSkyB to Yodlee, a financial-services company that she co-founded, to Polyvore, a fashion site where she was CEO last year until quitting MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 1, 2011 1:17 PM ET
Given that she started with a trunk show in Austin, Texas, in 2003 and generated more than $100 million in revenues last year, Stella & Dot CEO Jessica Herrin chose a fitting theme for her 2011 confab of sales reps: "Women Behaving Boldly."
Herrin was just one of the bold business-builders on a panel that I led at the Stella & Dot event, called Hoopla!, in San Francisco in early July. MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 26, 2011 10:39 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
The social web used to be about accumulating fans. Now it's about building engagement.
OK, but how do you do this most effectively?
By constantly experiment, advised Susan Lyne, who chairs one of the fastest-growing online retailers, Gilt Groupe. "If you do a lot of little things, you'll find the big things that scale," she said on a panel called "The New Consumer Conversation" this morning at Fortune Brainstorm Tech.
While experimentation tends MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 20, 2011 2:59 PM ET
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