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The Ellen DeGeneres Controversy Is Impacting Her Show in This Drastic Way

Ratings for The Ellen DeGeneres Show have plummeted since employee accusations went public.

In the summer of 2020, The Ellen DeGeneres Show went under an internal investigation after numerous claims about the show being a toxic workplace were made public. That that controversy hasn't been without consequence for the show itself. As reported by The New York Times, the ratings for The Ellen DeGeneres Show have decreased by 43 percent. That means over 1 million fewer people are tuning in to each episode as compared to the same time last year.

The New York Times report explains how Ellen DeGeneres' numbers compare to that of other talk show hosts, some of whom have also seen decreases in their ratings during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, the Ellen ratings have suffered a far greater loss in comparison. This suggests that the drop has to do with how DeGeneres and her show are perceived following the accusations, not just the pandemic.

Read on to find out more about how DeGeneres' show compares to others in the ratings and to find out about some of the other effects the investigation had on the show. And for more on the daytime series, check out The One Guest Ellen DeGeneres Banned From Her Show.

The shows ratings have plummeted in the last 12 months.

Ellen DeGeneres hosting her talk show in 2021

The New York Times reports that, according to Nielsen, last year DeGeneres' show averaged 2.6 million viewers over a six-month period. During the past six months, the show has average 1.5 million viewers. As a reference point, the article explains that Dr. Phil averages 2.5 million viewers and Live with Kelly and Ryan 2.7 million. Meanwhile, Maury Povich's show averages 1.4 million and Kelly Clarkson's two-year-old talk show (very new compared to the others) averages 1.3 million.

Read about another popular talk show with This Was the Worst Guest "The View" Ever Had, Former Host Says.

Lots of shows have seen ratings slide amid COVID, however.

Ellen DeGeneres and Ryan Seacrest at her Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in 2012
s_bukley /

Many series have seen changing viewership due to the pandemic. The New York Times reports that Dr. Phil lost 22 percent of viewers and The Kelly Clarkson Show lost 26 percent—still, many fewer viewers than what Ellen lost. The report also notes that Live with Kelly and Ryan only lost 3 percent, and Tamron Hall only lost 9 percent.

In addition to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, DeGeneres also hosts Ellen's Game of Games, a primetime game show. The New York Times reports that this show's viewership has dropped by 32 percent.

Live with Kelly and Ryan has existed in some form since it was hosted by Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford in the '80s. For one of the show's transitional moments, See Kelly Ripa in Her First "Live!" Episode, 20 Years Ago.

The toxic work environment claims have impacted the show in other ways, too.

An "Ellen" billboard in Times Square in 2013
Lissandra Melo /

Following the investigation into current and former employees' claims of a toxic work environment, three producers left the show, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter in August 2020.

The investigation also ended up affecting revenue, which goes hand-in-hand with viewership. The New York Times report explains that from September 2019 to January 2020, the show made $131 million from advertisers, but from September 2020 to January 2021 the number dropped to $105 million.

DeGeneres will be returning for at least one more season since her contract is already in place for the season that will begin this September.

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The claims about the show were wide-ranging. 

Ellen DeGeneres interviewing Demi Lovato on her talk show in February 2021

In July 2020, BuzzFeed spoke to one current and 10 former employees of the show, who made claims about racist comments made by show employees, favoritism by higher-ups, and being fired after taking personal leave. Not long after, BuzzFeed published another report in which staffers made claims of sexual misconduct against producers. Some former employees blamed DeGeneres for not being more aware and involved in what was going on; some claimed they were told by their managers not to speak to her.

Prior to the investigation, three of the show's executive producers said in a statement to BuzzFeed:

"Over the course of nearly two decades, 3,000 episodes, and employing over 1000 staff members, we have strived to create an open, safe, and inclusive work environment. We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It's not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us. For the record, the day to day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us. We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better."

According to the Times, the investigation found "deficiencies" in the way the show was run and personnel were handled. DeGeneres went on to apologize on camera during the first episode of season 18. An exception to the trend, that episode in particular brought in some high ratings.

For more news on the host, read Ellen DeGeneres Says This One COVID Symptom Just Kept Getting Worse.

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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