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Film and TV

Ellen DeGeneres continues to haemorrhage viewers following ‘toxic’ workplace scandal

Josh Milton March 23, 2021
Ellen DeGeneres during the FOX PRESENTS THE IHEART LIVING ROOM CONCERT FOR AMERICA. (FOX via Getty Images)

Ellen DeGeneres during the IHEART Living Room Concert for America. (FOX/Getty)

The Ellen DeGeneres Show has seen its ratings drastically dip by more than one million amid bristling allegations of bullying against its eponymous host.

Ellen DeGeneres became a lightning rod for criticism last year when a slew of accounts of workplace bullying and toxicity came to light.

Former staffers described an environment of “racism, fear and intimidation“, prompting WarnerMedia to launch an investigation – some accounts were true, the media corporation found.

So when an embattled Ellen returned to the airwaves last year, she came with a lengthy apology. Her 18th season – running without its three now-ousted producers – became a test to see if the talk show could push through the waves of allegations against its host.

It didn’t. DeGeneres’ once enduring dominance of daytime television has dwindled, having lost more than a million viewers since the latest season’s 21 September debut, according to Nielsen ratings seen by Vanity Fair.

Amid bullying claims, even Ellen DeGeneres’ core audience flock elsewhere

As much as the first episode drew the programme’s highest ratings for a premiere in four years, views quickly plateaued – it averaged 1.5 million viewers over the last six months down 2.6 million in the same period last year.

This amounts to a 43 per cent drop in viewership, slipping it under competitors it once topped on the daily. Dr Phil (2.5 million) and Live: With Kelly and Ryan (2.7 million) boasted double its figures, according to Nielson.

Instead, Ellen finds company with shows it was once sturdily thousands of views apart from – programmes hosted by Maury Povich (1.4 million), Kelly Clarkson (1.3 million), Tamron Hall (1.1 million), among others.

Ellen DeGeneres address misconduct allegations
Ellen DeGeneres addressed allegations of misconduct on the set of her talkshow. (YouTube)

In the biggest blow to Ellen, its core audience, adult women under 54, suffered a 38 per cent decline.

Haemorrhaging viewers isn’t the only problem plaguing the programme. The New York Times cited research by advertising firm Kantar which showed that Ellen raked $131 million from advertisers between 2019 and 2020 for its 17th season.

From 2020 to 2021, however, ad revenue nosedived by 20 per cent to 105 million.

The Ellen Show has been renewed for a 19th season, with DeGeneres contracted until the end of next year.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show remains one of the top three highest-rated syndicated talk shows this season,” David McGuire, executive vice president of programming at Telepictures, a subsidiary of Warner Bros, said in a statement to the newspaper.

“While broadcast is down across the board and COVID-19 has been challenging for production, we are looking forward to bringing back our live audiences and a 19th season filled with all of the hilarious and heartwarming moments that have made Ellen one of the longest-running and most successful talk shows in history.”

More: Ellen DeGeneres, The Ellen DeGeneres Show

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