It’s been just over two months since Ellen DeGeneres returned to her daytime talk show following several accusations of workplace misconduct — including sexual harassment. According to a new report, it appears the Emmy-winning series still hasn’t recovered from the scandal.
Staffers and sources “with knowledge of the situation” recently dished to BuzzFeed News about the true state of the midday staple, claiming that the show has lost advertisers, is now struggling to book A-list guests and has seen a significant dip in ratings.
Two employees claim that the production of digital content has taken a nosedive due to a lack of advertiser funds, resulting in the series re-airing old bits. The loss of sponsors can be accredited to both the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as months of bad publicity.
“We’re trying to be a content house, but we have no content,” one employee said.
They also detailed their newfound struggle in booking talent.
“For the first time, everyone was starting to ask us, ‘If you have an idea, tell us because we will listen. If you have an idea for a celeb, even if they’re not A-list or famous, we’ll take anyone who will bring us numbers and eyeballs,’” the staffer said. “That’s when they started to be real with us and essentially said, ‘Give us anything because we need help.’ Our old strategy doesn’t work anymore.”
Entertainment publicists also confessed — anonymously — that they “aren’t booking as many of their clients on the daytime talk show” as they have in the past.
“They also said some of their clients have specifically said they don’t want to appear on the show, even over videoconference. They also said they’re wary of booking their clients for the current season of ‘Ellen’ because they don’t want them to be a part of ‘her comeback tour,’” wrote reporter Krystie Lee Yandoli.
One publicist admitted, “I wouldn’t set up anyone on her show right now to do anything that could possibly cause them more negative headlines. You have to tread so carefully with your clients and your clients’ reputations, so you don’t want to put your client in any line of fire sympathizing with someone that any community or anyone would feel bad about. We’re not going to align anyone with Ellen.”
A source close to the show, however, told Buzzfeed that they’ve had no problems booking quality talent.
“The show is fully booked and a lot of those guests are exclusive to Ellen, and that’s even more remarkable because as you know, there are no movies opening, there are no concerts being had, there are no TV events or premieres,” the source said. “So the whole talk show circuit that these major celebrities do is not happening.”
DeGeneres has, however, found allies in celebrity pals such as Diane Keaton, Kevin Hart and Katy Perry.
Finally, ratings have dropped 37% compared to last season, and while ratings for syndicated talk shows are down by 19% on average, “The Ellen Show” drop is the steepest.
Evan Nierman, founder and CEO of Red Banyan, a crisis management and public relations firm, ultimately believes the funny lady will make it.
“In the end, she’s going to be OK,” Nierman said. “Did she damage her brand? Yes. Has the shine worn off a bit? And does it seem like Ellen isn’t exactly who we all thought she was on camera? Sure. But she will be just fine.”