For years, The Ellen DeGeneres Show reigned as daytime TV’s top show, its reputation built on celebrity pranks, guests experiencing a brush with viral fame, and showers of prizes. But that all changed when BuzzFeed News released an exposé in July 2020 about how poorly treated the crew of the show were, including incidents of “racism, fear, and intimidation.” Months before that, YouTube celebrity Nikkie De Jager told Dutch magazine &C that she didn’t have a positive experience on the show, saying, “Call me naive, but I kind of expected to be welcomed with confetti cannons: ‘Welcome to The Ellen DeGeneres Show!’ But instead I was greeted by an angry intern who was a bit overworked.” She also shared that every guest had their own private bathroom except her.
DeGeneres addressed the toxic workplace allegations when the show returned from a summer hiatus in September, saying, “I learned that things happen here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously. And I want to say, I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power. And I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.” But, according to The New York Times, while that season’s first episode had the highest ratings for an Ellen episode in four years, viewers decided to stop watching afterwards. The show has lost 1 million viewers in the months since, dropping its average viewership to 1.5 million per episode.
To add insult to injury, the Times notes that it’s “no longer in the same league as traditional rivals like Dr. Phil (2.5 million) and Live: With Kelly And Ryan (2.7 million). Now it finds itself uncomfortably close to shows hosted by Maury Povich (1.4 million), Kelly Clarkson (1.3 million), Rachael Ray (1.2 million), Tamron Hall (1.1 million), and Jerry Springer’s former security guard Steve Wilkos (1.1 million).” The “Jerry Springer’s former security guard” comparison is just *chef’s kiss.* After seeing Bon Appetit, Reply All, and Ellen go down in the past year, the message is loud and clear: Stop treating your workers like dogshit.