DeGeneres apologized on air last September at the opener of her 18th season. Viewers watched that episode, then tuned out, the Times reported, citing Nielsen data. Since that time, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has lost over 1 million viewers, down to an average of 1.5 million in the last six months compared to 2.6 million in the same period last year.
That’s a decline of 43%, dropping her from the league of daytime talk juggernauts like “Dr. Phil” and “Live: With Kelly and Ryan,” which both average more than 2.5 million views. “Ellen” ratings now sit closer to those of shows hosted by Kelly Clarkson, Maury Povich and Jerry Springer’s former security guard Steve Wilkos, the Times noted.
David McGuire, an executive vice president of programming at Telepictures, a subsidiary of the show’s producer, Warner Bros., pushed back on the Times’ findings.
“‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ remains one of the top three highest-rated syndicated talk shows this season,” he said in a statement.
“While broadcast is down across the board and Covid 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.”
“Ellen,” centered around DeGeneres’ “be kind” branding, suffered a huge blow to its reputation over the accusations, first reported by BuzzFeed last July. Multiple current and former staff members of the show said they faced racism, intimidation and a toxic work environment on set, and several also alleged they were sexually harassed by producers.
Warner Bros. conducted an investigation, and three top producers ― Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman ― were fired by August.