Netflix Is Making Plans For Live Streaming Unscripted Shows And Stand-Up Specials

A new report indicates that Netflix is looking to get into the live streaming business. The beleaguered streaming giant, which suffered a staggering overnight loss of $54 billion last month, is early in development on a live streaming capability for its platform, per Deadline.

Live streaming would, for one thing, enable Netflix subscribers to vote on talent competitions, similar to what network TV viewers do with reality shows like "American Idol" and "Dancing with the Stars." One such show that Netflix has in the pipeline is "Dance 100," which hails from Studio Lambert, the production company behind "The Circle." Ally Love is set to host the series, which is billed as "a street dance competition to find the next superstar choreographer." Contestants will duke it out for the top glory by choreographing "100 of the world's best dancers."

Another potential application for live streaming would be Netflix's stand-up comedy specials. The streamer just wrapped up its first live comedy festival, Netflix Is a Joke, which should yield about a dozen new specials from its various shows. This is the same event where comedian Dave Chappelle was recently attacked onstage, which obviously underscores one of the perils of live streaming, since it could lead to unscripted moments not unlike what happened between Will Smith and host Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards in March. 

Some drew a correlation between that incident and what happened to Chappelle, who was performing at the joke fest's Hollywood Bowl venue in Los Angeles, when — according to NBC News — an audience member charged the stage and tackled him. However, live streaming would likely employ a slight time delay to help filter out unplanned occurrences like that or any wardrobe malfunctions.

The future of Netflix: A network TV model?

Deadline also notes that live streaming might open Netflix up to the prospect of more reunion specials for reality shows like "Selling Sunset." Just last week, we heard that it may be introducing an ad-supported tier before the end of the year, and when you couple this with the idea of it streaming reality shows and having fans vote on them, it feels like the lines between it and network television are becoming more and more blurred.

Netflix is currently facing a lawsuit from shareholders for misleading investors about company growth, so it's clearly not having the best year. If it's hemorrhaging subscribers, many of whom may be cord-cutters who abandoned broadcast TV for streaming services, I'm not sure remaking itself in the mold of network television is the best route to go. With its recent troubles, the streamer may simply be desperate to explore new options.