Chris Rock is making his return to television as a standup comic, and he's being paid a king's ransom for his efforts.
After an eight-year absence, the multiple Emmy-winning comedian has signed a massive pact with Netflix for two stand-up specials, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Sources say Rock has secured a whopping $40 million for the specials, which sets a new high mark for a stand-up comic. The $20 million per special is believed to be more than such A-list comedians as Louis C.K., Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Schumer have commanded.
The first Rock show will tape in 2017 and follow a new world tour that is currently being planned. It's unclear when either that first show will air or when the second will tape and be rolled out.
Given Rock's recent Emmy nomination for directing HBO's Schumer special, the deal at Netflix should be considered a big win for the streaming giant, which landed the in-demand comedian's specials following a multiple-network bidding war. The move also is a blow to HBO, where in addition to the Schumer special, Rock has aired specials including Bigger & Blacker and Never Scared as well as his talk show The Chris Rock Show.
"Chris Rock is a beloved actor and director, and his remarkable stand-up makes him comic royalty. There is no one like him, and Netflix offers the global platform and creative freedom that will serve as a perfect home for someone with his incredible talent," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement.
The specials mark a return to the stage for Rock, who most recently returned to the spotlight to host the Oscars with a well-reviewed performance. In the past year, he's also directed the Schumer special and guest starred on Fox's Empire.
The stand-up specials bring Rock back to Netflix after he appeared in the streaming giant's A Very Murray Christmas special with Bill Murray. In 2014, Rock wrote, directed and starred in ensemble feature Top Five as well as exec produced documentary Eat Drink Laugh: The Story of the Comic Strip. That followed 2009's documentary Good Hair, which he wrote and produced. On the small screen, his credits include The Chris Rock Show, Everybody Hates Chris as well as Saturday Night Live. He's a four-time Emmy winner who has three Grammys and is a best-selling author. His time hosting the Oscars and directing Schumer's special earned Emmy nominations this year.
Rock joins a roster of stand-up specials including Emmy-nominated entries from John Mulaney and Patton Oswalt as well as Cedric the Entertainer, Iliza Shlesinger, Ali Wong, Mike Epps, Aziz Ansari, Anjelah Johnson, Chris Tucker, Chelsea Handler and David Cross, among others. Next up are specials from Joe Rogan, Dana Carvey, Michael Che, Gabriel Iglesias, Reggie Watts and Colin Quinn (with the latter directed by Jerry Seinfeld).
"Increasingly, Netflix is becoming the preeminent destination for stand-up comedy, partnering with top-tier talent across a wide variety of styles and humor, enabling them to bring their fresh, distinctive and hilarious voices to our members in 190 countries around the world," said Lisa Nishimura, vp original documentary and comedy at Netflix. "Our members discover every day that we truly offer something for every comedy fan, and the comedians we partner with understand the power of having a direct line to our ever-growing global audience. Coming on the heels of our first Emmy win in the category (Patton Oswalt: Talking for Clapping), now is the perfect time to take things to the next level with Chris Rock."
Netflix's entry into the stand-up space has created a growing arms race to land top talent in an increasingly competitive landscape with featured players Comedy Central, Showtime and HBO, among others.
Check out more from Chris Rock in the gallery below!
Chris Rock through the years
Chris Rock through the years
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 18: Chris Rock speaks at the 2016 MLK Now at Riverside Church on January 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
Publicity still portrait of American comedian and actor Chris Rock, 1985. (Photo by John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images)
Portrait of actor and comedian Chris Rock, wearing a large gold ring across the fingers of his left hand that spell 'Gusto' and a large gold dollar sign as a necklace, while in costume for his movie CB4, Los Angeles, CA, 1993. (Photo by Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)
Publicity still portrait of American actor and comedian Chris Rock in the rap music spoof 'CB4' (Universal Pictures), 1993. (Photo by John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images)
MET LIFE PRESENTS THE APOLLO THEATRE HALL OF FAME -- Pictured: Chris Rock -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Publicity still portrait of American comedian and actor Chris Rock from the comedy television show 'The Chris Rock Show' (HBO), 1997. (Photo by John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Archive/Getty Images)
NEW YORK Ã OCTOBER 1997: American comedian and actor Chris Rock poses for a portrait in front of a fun house mirror in October 1997 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Catherine McGann/Getty Images)
369098 03: Actor And Comedian Chris Rock And Film Director Spike Lee Watch The Action During The New York Knicks Vs. Miami Heat Playoff Basketball Game May 9, 2000 In Miami, Fl. (Photo By Marc Serota/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 02: Actor-comedian Chris Rock at the Essex House Hotel. (Photo by Susan Watts/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, United States: Oscar host Chris Rock (L) and actor Adam Sandler present the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay during the 77th Academy Awards show 27 February, 2005, at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 23: (U.S. TABLOIDS OUT) Actor Chris Rock makes an appearance on MTV's Total Request Live to promote the 'The Longest Yard' on May 23, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 25: Actor Chris Rock accepts the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Theatrical Film at the 2005 BET Comedy Icon Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on September 25, 2005 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - APRIL 01: Actor Chris Rock and daughter arrive at the 19th Annual Kid's Choice Awards held at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on April 1, 2006 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: Stand-up comedian and actor Chris Rock speaks at the 49th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles 11 February 2007. AFP PHOTO/Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MARCH 13: (U.S. TABS OUT) Actor Chris Rock appears onstage during MTV's Total Request Live at the MTV Times Square Studios on March 13, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 16: Actor/comedian Chris Rock performs during The Comedy Festival at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace November 16, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 20: Actor/comedian Chris Rock attends Variety's 15 Minutes of Fame on January 20, 2009 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Kristian Dowling/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actor/producer Chris Rock, winner Outstanding Comedy Series for 'Everybody Hates Chris,' onstage during the 41st NAACP Image awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on February 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NAACP)
BERLIN - JULY 30: Actor Chris Rock attends the Beach BBQ for the German Premiere of 'Kindskoepfe' (Grown Ups) at O2 World on July 30, 2010 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Actors David Spade and Chris Rock arrive at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter at Sunset Tower on February 26, 2012 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Sullivan/WireImage)
US actor Chris Rock takes part in the TV show 'Le Grand Journal' on the set of French TV Canal+ during the 65th Cannes film festival on May 17, 2012 in Cannes, southeastern France. AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/GettyImages)
TODAY -- Pictured: Actor/comedian Chris Rock appears on NBC News' 'Today' show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 28: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Actor/Comedian Chris Rock attends a game between the New York Knicks and the Golden State Warriors at Madison Square Garden on February 28, 2014 in New York City. The Warriors defeated the Knicks 126-103. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0074 -- Pictured: (l-r) Comedian Chris Rock during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on June 12, 2014 -- (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
PALM SPRINGS, CA - JANUARY 03: (EDITORS NOTE: This image was processed using digital filters.) Actor Chris Rock attends the 26th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Festival Awards Gala at Palm Springs Convention Center on January 3, 2015 in Palm Springs, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for PSIFF)