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After a tumultuous year so far, The Ellen Show hit another roadblock this week when it announced staff layoffs. Ellen DeGeneres took on the brunt of the news herself and spoke with her staff during a virtual meeting that discussed the layoffs and their impact to the division that handles her EllenTube account, which employed around 80 people before the layoffs this week.
Layoffs are tough for any company, but tumult has been high on The Ellen Show this year, following allegations of a toxic work environment and the firing of several high-level executives who worked on the daytime talk show. The ratings tumbled after. This week, Ellen DeGeneres spoke to the nature of why the layoffs became necessary, mentioning she still believes in the show in her official statement to the staff.
I obviously as am heartbroken as everybody, but we have to know that this is all for the good of EDV, and we need to keep this going because we have such a great team and we believe in y’all, and we will get through this just like we’ve gotten through all kinds of other things. Know that we believe in you and I know this is hard for y’all to hear, and we are here for you.
The layoffs were likely not anticipated at the start of the fiscal year, as Ellen DeGeneres wrote that she was in “shock” when she learned that at least 17 people would be laid off of the Ellen Digital Ventures arm of her series (via Buzzfeed).
When I was told that this had to happen, it was obviously a shock, but this is happening to every business, every company. I mean, everyone is being impacted by COVID. We are in the same position that so many other businesses are struggling with, and it just is a reality as much as we would not like it to be.
The Ellen Show is particularly impacted due to restructuring at Warner Bros. Television, which produces her daytime TV show. The restructuring move was shared with staff near the end of the workday on Tuesday and Ellen DeGeneres’ producer Andy Lassner also addressed staff, calling the move “a tough thing for everyone.” For his part, he noted Covid is what led to the decision.
Unfortunately, as you know from every company, digital and streaming has taken a big hit during COVID. We are hoping to now turn the tide, and we feel that we’re in a position with that with all of you here.
The Ellen Show has been on the air for 17 years and has never previously had to do major layoffs such as this one. But the TV landscape is changing and rapidly. There has been a major shift to streaming by audiences during 2020, though even streaming has not been immune to Covid effects. For example, Netflix has even had to cancel renewed shows like Glow in order for budgets and shooting to work effectively.
As noted prior, Ellen DeGeneres herself is trying to rebuild a series after bad press that kicked off earlier in the year and continued over the summer. She had a tough time doing that “at home” sort of edition of her show during quarantine and now that she’s back in the studio, she’s still working to win audiences back. Many of her videos are still popular on YouTube, but as is true in many other industries, 2020 has been a bit of a slog.