The lack of sponsorship funding has even hit the show’s production cycle, forcing the team to reuse old segments, BuzzFeed reported on Thursday, citing anonymous crew members. “We’re trying to be a content house, but we have no content,” one employee said.
DeGeneres’s show is also apparently struggling to bring on big-name celebrity guests who usually jump at the chance to sit on the couch opposite the star host, whose fortune is worth a reported $330 million.
“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,” one staffer said, describing a workplace discussion, the kind of which have started to take place “for the first time.”
Industry publicists told BuzzFeed that, while some regular guests have appeared this season, many of their usual clients “have specifically said they don’t want to appear on the show, even over video conference.”
“I wouldn’t set up anyone on her show right now to do anything that could possibly cause them more negative headlines. … We’re not going to align anyone with Ellen,” one publicist anonymously revealed.
However, another source insisted to BuzzFeed that the show has had “no difficulty” in booking guests.
Whatever the case may be, media tracking firm Nielsen said last month that the program’s ratings have dropped almost 40 percent compared to last year. Despite viewership dropping for talk shows across the board, DeGeneres’s dip is the most significant, it said.
Allegations of staff harassment and work environment toxicity behind the scenes led to a massive public backlash against the celebrity comedian earlier this year.
Nonetheless, despite the uproar, a number of big names, including Kevin Hart and Katy Perry, stood up for the host.
In 2019, DeGeneres signed a deal to host her daytime talk show until 2022, and executives assured the public that she “isn’t going anywhere.”
Returning after the hiatus, the host opened her 18th season with an apology monologue, which many viewers panned as insincere.
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