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This summer has been tough for pretty much everyone, and that has been just as true for Ellen DeGeneres. She and the staff of her daytime talk show had to deal with a serious reckoning after several former employees came out and made disturbing allegations of toxic workplace behavior by several of her top executives, including reports of sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault. The investigation which followed led to two executive producers and one co-executive producer being fired, but now The Ellen DeGeneres Show is facing big ratings problems after the backlash.
While Ellen DeGeneres hasn't tried to hide from the all of the bad press over the summer, and did, in fact, address everything on her show during the Season 18 opening monologue, it looks like fans may be starting to abandon the long-running show. According to Nielsen figures for same-day viewing (via USA Today), her first episode back after the summer hiatus and backlash had a 38% ratings drop from her season premiere in 2019.
Ellen returned to the air with new episodes in the studio on September 21, but during that week the show only averaged 1.66 million viewers, which is down from 2.67 million for the opening week last year, which began on September 9. While most of her returning daytime talk show competitors are also seeing big ratings drops in our very odd television climate right now, Ellen has seen, by far, the biggest such drop in her new season. Even The Wendy Williams Show, which had the second largest drop (compared to Ellen) in her opening week, only fell 24% from last year.
As you might imagine, even with the major drop in viewers, a lot of people still tuned in to see what DeGeneres would do for her first show. Those viewers got what they came for, because as I mentioned earlier she did talk about the allegations and rumors that she's not as nice as she appears. But, with that promise fulfilled, those viewers took a hike, and from premiere week to week two of Season 18, ratings for The Ellen DeGeneres Show dropped (via TV News Check) 11%. This might not sound terribly bad, but that gave the series a rating of only 0.8, which is its lowest rating ever, and 56% below its comparable week in 2019.
The trouble for Ellen DeGeneres began around mid-July, when those first reports of a toxic workplace behind the scenes of her show surfaced after dozens of her former employees came forward. The following months were filled with investigations into the allegations, as well as investigations into the sexual misconduct allegations once they were made public, and executive producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman being fired.
Even though DeGeneres took full responsibility for what happened at her company in the past and for making sure the workplace would be better going forward, during her lengthy season premiere monologue, it may have not been enough for many of her old fans to stick around.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show continues with new episodes Monday through Friday in syndication, so be sure to check your local listings for the time and channel where you can watch. For more on what's new this season, be sure to visit our guide to fall TV.