Chris Rock will star in two new stand-up specials for Netflix, the streaming service announced today, marking the comedian's return to the art form after eight years away. The deal bringing Rock to Netflix is worth $40 million, Variety says, the company reportedly outbidding Amazon, Hulu, and HBO for the rights to the as-yet-unnamed specials.
Rock most recently appeared on screens as a guest in Empire, after he hosted the Oscars, but he has worked with Netflix before, having appeared in Bill Murray one-off A Very Murray Christmas. It's not clear yet what his two specials will be called, how long they'll run, or which topics he'll cover, but the comedian said he was excited to be working with the company, and that he "can't wait to get back on stage."
This isn't the first time that Netflix has worked to secure exclusive stand-up comedy — the deal comes after it scooped an Emmy for Patton Oswalt's Talking for Clapping, a one-off special that joined exclusive routines from Aziz Ansari, Chelsea Peretti, and Bill Burr, among many others on the service. Rock is the biggest name Netflix has scored yet, though, with Netflix's Ted Sarandos calling him "comedy royalty." Lisa Nishimura, vice president of original programming and comedy, said that it was the right time for Rock's two specials to "take things to the next level," making Netflix the "preeminent destination" for stand-up.