Ellen DeGeneres once had the most popular syndicated talk show on TV, but that fact has changed a lot since she began her current season of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. While one would likely think that starting a talk show back up last fall would have been difficult for everyone (and it basically was), Ellen's problems have remained. And, DeGeneres' daytime show is still quietly bleeding viewers following last year's major backlash.
After years of rumors about Ellen DeGeneres maybe not being the queen of nice she appears to be while on camera, she and everyone at Ellen faced a major reckoning last summer. Not only did some stars speak out about how they were treated while appearing on the show, but, even worse, several former employees brought up allegations of a toxic workplace behind the scenes. While Ellen debuted on September 21 to numbers which were already down 38% from her premiere in 2019, the show is still losing viewers at a steady clip. Showbiz411 reports that Ellen is stuck at fewer than 1 million viewers, with an average of 900,000 for the first two weeks of April.
There are several problems here for those at Ellen. For starters, May sweeps are upon us, and Season 18 would have a better shot at helping the show last beyond Season 19 (DeGeneres is contracted for one more season right now) if it could wrap up with a way more solid viewership finish than 900,000 eyeballs. In addition, seeing as how DeGeneres herself has been openly mulling over whether to re-up her contract and stay for Season 20 and past that, the show is really not on very solid footing. And, we can't look past the seriousness of the allegations from former employees last year.
Even though Ellen DeGeneres took responsibility for what went on backstage at her namesake daytime talker, and spoke at length about the allegations and her commitment to making sure the work environment was better moving forward when the show returned in the fall, it may have been too hard for some of her fans to move past what they heard from former employees.
These claims included everything from people supposedly being fired for taking bereavement and medical leave, to racial discrimination and reports of sexual misconduct, harassment, and assault from some of the show's top executives, with many stating they didn't come forward sooner because of a fear of retaliation. After several investigations, three of Ellen's executives, executive producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman, were fired. But, the controversy may have been too much for Ellen's fans to stomach.
Many of the syndicated daytime talk shows are having a rough go of it right now. Even front-runners like Dr. Phil and Live! with Kelly and Ryan are down by two or three hundred thousand viewers during the same time period as Ellen, with only Tamron Hall managing an uptick of 14%. With Season 18 almost over, it will only be a matter of time before we know whether or not Ellen DeGeneres and her team can pull off a viewership win by season's end.