Wanda Sykes on Doing Business With Netflix: ‘They Moved That Comma’

Variety | 4/23/2019 | Cynthia Littleton
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MENLO PARK, Calif. — Wanda Sykes wears a lot of hats as a comedian, writer, producer and entrepreneur, and that gives her a keen sense of the ever-growing content marketplace. She also has a very clear understanding of what she’s worth in dollars and cents, as she shared Tuesday in her Q&A at Variety’s Silicon Valleywood conference.

The explosion in the number of outlets seeking original content has been a godsend for comedians and other creatives. Sykes is in the midst of building up her Push It Productions banner.

Buyers - Production - Side - Buyers - Content

“Before it was always, what are the buyers looking for on the production side? You try to cater to that what are they looking for. Now so many buyers are out there especially with streaming. They’re just looking for good content,” she said. “They’re going to find someone who is interested in what you’re putting out there. You don’t have to focus on what people are buying. We can focus on what stories you want to tell.”

Sykes has a new comedy special premiering May 21 on Netflix, “Wanda Sykes: Not Normal.” Moderator Andrew Wallenstein, Variety’s co-editor-in-chief, pressed Sykes about her business relationship with Netflix during the Q&A at Rosewood Sand Hill resort.

Year - Sykes - Support - Mo'Nique - Netflix

Last year, Sykes spoke out in support of comedian Mo’Nique, who accused Netflix of low-balling her on an offer for a comedy special. Sykes acknowledged that she also rejected a deal from Netflix over financial terms. Mo’Nique’s assertion came after Netflix set eye-popping deals for comedy specials with Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle valued at $20 million a piece.

So what made the difference this time around? Sykes smiled. “They moved that comma,” she said.

Sykes - Experience - Comedy - Netflix - Something

Sykes recounted her experience in shopping a previous comedy special to the Netflix. “I had to step up and say something,” Sykes said of lending her support to Mo’Nique....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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