‘Nice’ Girls Finish Last? Ellen’s Apology and Ratings Fall Flat

Ellen DeGeneres, winner of the Carol Burnett award, poses in the press room at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Let’s just say Ellen DeGeneres didn’t have much to dance about last week. The daytime talk show queen found out that her royal status might be coming to an end, as ratings for last month’s premiere week of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” took a 38% dive. Translation: The months of bad press she received during the lockdown due to the reported toxic vibe behind the scenes of her show turned America off. At least for the first week.

How bad was it for Ellen? In 2019, her debut week for the season drew 2.67 million viewers. For the week of September 21, 2020, when she debuted her new season, her audience was down to 1.66 million viewers for the week. That’s even fewer than Kelly Clarkson usually draws for her show. It’s fair to say that most shows saw a drop in ratings compared to a year ago, but they didn’t fall as hard and as fast as DeGeneres’s.

Fearing the worst, DeGeneres canned three of her top producers during hiatus after weeks of negative stories circulated reporting a horrible workplace environment on the show. She turned her opening monologue into a pseudo-apology that many say missed the mark. Add it all up, and she’s facing the biggest challenge of her daytime television career.



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