Back in fall 2020, the season 18 premiere of The Ellen DeGeneres Show yielded the talk show's highest ratings in four years. The episode featured Ellen DeGeneres' on-air apology. However, in the period since, noted John Koblin for The New York Times, the chatfest has lost over one million viewers.
Nielsen's ratings had Ellen averaging 1.5 million viewers in the past six months, as opposed to the previous year's 2.6 million (down 43%). Ellen no longer ranks among the likes of Dr. Phil (2.5 million viewers, down 22%) and Live! with Kelly and Ryan (2.7). The Emmy-winning talk show is currently tallying eyeballs comparable to shows like Maury (1.4) and The Kelly Clarkson Show (1.3).
Will DeGeneres continue her long-running gig amidst a year full of challenges? Her contract extends through next year. Ellen producer Warner Bros. said Season 19 is scheduled for September 2021, while a rep for DeGeneres did not comment on whether or not that would be her final season.
David McGuire, executive vice president of programming at Warner Bros. subsidiary Telepictures, said in a statement:
‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ remains one of the top three highest-rated syndicated talk shows this season.
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.
Amidst accusations of harassment and poor treatment of employees, Ellen might be floundering. Stephen Galloway, the dean of Chapman University’s Dodge College of film and media arts, suggested:
Her brand is not just being fairly nice — it is ‘Be Kind.' She’s chosen two words to stamp herself. You cannot have hypocrisy better defined than when you’ve chosen those two words to define yourself and everyone is seeing the opposite is true inside your show.
The reason the incident with the producers was such a difficult and perilous moment is it’s the first time where something surfaced to indicate that a family — Ellen’s own professional family — was dysfunctional.