Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show has dropped dramatically in viewership following the star’s toxic workplace scandal that dominated headlines last year.
Citing Nielsen ratings, the New York Times reports that “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has lost over 1 million viewers over the course of the show’s 18th season.
The program’s latest season kicked off in September 2020 with an apology from the comedian about claims of a toxic workplace that marred the show over the summer.
“I learned that things happen here that never should have happened,” DeGeneres said on the show at the time. “I take that very seriously. And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”
According to the Times, the season 18 premiere had the highest ratings of any season opener in the last four years for “Ellen.” However, over the last six months, the show has averaged 1.5 million viewers.
In contrast, during the same period in the previous season, she averaged about 2.6 million viewers.
The show is being outperformed by other competing daytime programs including “Dr. Phil” (2.5 million) and “Live: With Kelly and Ryan” (2.7 million).
It’s currently in line with a handful of other celebrity-hosted programs like “Maury” (1.4 million), “The Kelly Clarkson Show” (1.3 million), “Rachael Ray” (1.2 million), “Tamron Hall” (1.1 million) and “The Steve Wilkos Show” (1.1 million), per the outlet.
Some other daytime talk shows have also dropped in viewership this past year, but none as high as DeGeneres’ 43% decline.
The drop in DeGeneres’ viewership includes a 38% decline in women viewers under 54, her core audience.
Additionally, the show’s ad revenue has been affected by the decline as well.
From September to January of the 2019-2020 season, the show earned $131 million from advertisers, the Times reports, citing research firm Kantar. This time around, in the same time period, “Ellen” has only earned $105 million – a drop of about 20%.
Futhermore, DeGeneres’ primetime game show “Ellen’s Game of Games” has also lost 32% of its viewers this season, according to the Times, including 35% in the advertiser-friendly adult demographic.
Fox News has reached out to reps for DeGeneres, her show and Warner Bros.
In a statement to the Times, David McGuire, an executive with Warner Bros.’ Telepictures which produces the show, said: “‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ remains one of the top three highest-rated syndicated talk shows this season.”
He said that the decline in viewership could be a result of factors outside of the show’s controversy, including changes in television ratings during the pandemic.
“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,” the exec said.
Scandal arose last summer when employees anonymously reported enduring “racism, fear and intimidation” on the set while DeGeneres herself faced accusations of rude behavior.
The report was followed by accusations of sexual misconduct and fostering a poor work environment against higher-ups. Writer Kevin Leman and producers Ed Glavin and Jonathan Norman all “parted ways” with the show in the wake of such accusations.