Chris Rock’s most recent stand-up special will be premiered by Netflix during their first live event. Since the middle of the 1980s, Rock has been a working actor and comedian. Joining the cast of SNL between 1990 and 1993 was one of his first significant breaks, but he went on to star in movies like Head of State, Grown Ups, and the most recent horror series sequel Spiral: From the Book of Saw.
Rock will make history this week as the first performer to give a live performance on Netflix. After 2018’s Chris Rock: Tamborine, this will be the comedian’s second original special to air on the platform. The following special’s title and other specifics are yet unknown, but its projected premiere date is early 2023.
Over time, Netflix has seen continuous change as a company. Initially only offering mail-in DVD rentals, the business changed direction and started creating its own unique streaming content, for which it is now best known. The Russo Brothers’ action thriller The Gray Man (which will soon be expanding into its own universe) and the star-studded Red Notice seemed to indicate that Netflix was making an effort to produce blockbuster movies on par with high-budget theatrical offerings. However, recently Netflix has been changing its priorities after experiencing its first subscriber decline in ten years. They unveiled a less expensive, ad-supported subscription tier earlier this month as part of their effort to right the ship.
With the addition of a live event, Netflix is significantly expanding its business model and moving closer to terrestrial television, a medium they helped lose favor with mainstream viewers. The ability to binge-watch Netflix’s programming was a factor in its initial attraction. They started to discontinue their original series, such as their first originals like House of Cards and Lilyhammer, one entire season at a time, to enable fans to binge the shows to their hearts’ content. This decision was made in response to the way audiences were using their service to watch series that had already aired.
It will be fascinating to see if this strategy is successful for Netflix. The business is renowned for trying out unconventional formats, however, not all of them are successful. For instance, they pioneered real-time, choose-your-own-adventure storytelling with works like Unbreakable and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend was a format that only saw a few one-off titles succeed, though. After the corporation conditioned them to accept watching episodes whenever they had time rather than planning their schedules around live airings, attempting to convert audiences back to appointment television may prove challenging.