Chelsea Handler Protégé Ross Mathews Signs New Two-Year Deal With E! (Exclusive)

Brian Bowen Smith/E!

Brian Bowen Smith/E!

The “Hello Ross!” host will stay at the network following Handler’s expected exit

While Chelsea Handler has made it abundantly clear that she sees no future for herself at E!, the case is somewhat different for her protégé Ross Mathews.

Mathews, who hosts the weekly late night talk show “Hello Ross!” and serves as a contributor during E!’s red carpet coverage and other programs, has just closed a new two-year deal with the cable network, individuals with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap.

Currently in its second season, “Hello Ross!” is averaging 359,000 total viewers and 127,000 in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic. The March 21 episode, with guests Kendal and Kylie Jenner, was the series second-highest rated episode with 521,000 viewers.

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The series also garnered Mathews a nomination for a People’s Choice Award for Favorite New Talk Show Host last year.

Mathews originally signed a one-year talk show development and talent deal with E! in August of 2011. The deal followed after he guest-hosted on Chelsea Handler‘s late night talk show, “Chelsea Lately,” to good reviews and high ratings.

The Mathews-hosted October 2011 episode – which was boosted by its lead-in, the Kim Kardashian-Kris Humphries Wedding Special — was watched by 1.8 million total viewers and remains the network’s most-watched episode of “Chelsea Lately.”

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Mathews would seem to be the network’s best option for continuing its late night franchise when Handler leaves at the end of the year.

Ironically, the deal would also keep Handler in the family as her Borderline Amazing productions produces “Hello Ross!”

In 2001, national audiences first met Mathews as a correspondent on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” where he became known as “Ross the Intern.”