'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' Loses a Million Viewers Following Workplace Misconduct Scandal
Published Mar 23, 2021Last year, when allegations of The Ellen DeGeneres Show's "toxic" work culture surfaced, WarnerMedia investigated the claims, and three execs were fired. Ellen DeGeneres herself addressed the controversy during the Season 18 premiere, which drew some of the show's highest ratings in years. But since then, the TV host's viewership has drastically petered out.
According to the New York Times, subsequent Season 18 episodes have drawn an average of 1.5 million viewers over the last six months — and that's down from 2.6 million in the same period last year.
The numbers represent a loss of 43 percent, including a 38 percent decline among her key audience, adult women under 54, according to Nielsen.
Compared to daytime talk show peers like Dr. Phil, Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, DeGeneres is now pulling significantly fewer eyes, representing numbers comparable to daytime TV's B-list league of Kelly Clarkson and Jerry Springer's former security guard Steve Wilkos, according to NYT.
The Ellen controversy began when BuzzFeed spoke to one current employee and 10 former employees of the show. Some employees claimed they were fired after taking medical leave or bereavement days to attend funerals, while others alleged that executives engaged in racist behaviour behind closed doors.
Further, executives on the show were accused of making jokes about mistaking two Black employees for one another and calling a Black staffer "the PC police" when she asked writers to stop using the phrase "my spirit animal."
DeGeneres addressed the issue during the Season 18 premiere, saying, "I take that very seriously and I want to say I'm so sorry to the people that were affected. I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power and I realize that with that comes responsibility. I take responsibility for what happens at my show."