It’s been a little over two months since Ellen DeGeneres returned to her once-beloved daytime talk show following a toxic workplace scandal that saw dozens of current and former employees coming forward to accuse her of turning a blind eye to racism, intimidation, and even sexual misconduct on set.
Now, a new report has come out alleging that “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has not recovered from this scandal nearly as well as it may seem. Staffers and sources “with knowledge of the situation” told BuzzFeed News that the show has lost advertisers and is struggling to book A-list guests. On top of that, ratings have plummeted, and they don’t seem to be going back up.
Two employees alleged that production of digital content has nosedived due to a lack of funds from advertisers, which has resulted in the show being forced to re-air old bits.
“We’re trying to be a content house, but we have no content,” one staffer said.
This employee also discussed the struggles of trying to book talent right now.
“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 explained. “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.”
Publicists in the entertainment industry admitted on the condition of anonymity that they “aren’t booking as many of their clients on the daytime talk show” as they have in the past, saying that they don’t want them to be part of DeGeneres’ “comeback tour. They added that many of their clients have specifically said that they don’t want to appear on the show, even if it’s via videoconference.
“I wouldn’t set up anyone on her show right now to do anything that could possibly cause them more negative headlines,” one publicist confessed. “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.”
However, another source close to the show claimed that there have been no issues with booking guests.
“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 claimed. “So the whole talk show circuit that these major celebrities do is not happening.”
Nevertheless, ratings for DeGeneres’ show dropped a staggering 37% compared to last season. While ratings for all talk shows are down 19%, none have plummeted more than DeGeneres.’
Though none of these setbacks seem very promising, Evan Nierman, founder and CEO of Red Banyan, a crisis management and public relations firm, still thinks DeGeneres has a chance to make it.
“In the end, she’s going to be OK,” he 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.”