"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" is sinking, according to reports. Months have passed since allegations of a toxic workplace and sexual misconduct emerged and now the show is losing advertisers, ratings, and A-lister celebrities, sources with knowledge of the situation told Buzzfeed News in an explosive report published on Wednesday.
"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" returned to screens roughly two months ago but its content has been suffering. There are fewer advertisers and sponsors and staff has been forced to recycle old video clips from past seasons as there is less advertising money to produce new content, one employee who wished not to be named told the outlet.
"We’re trying to be a content house, but we have no content," the insider said.
The lack of sponsorship and advertising is evident in the show's digital content, which featured 12 sponsored posts from eight different brands last year but only featured six sponsored posts from two different brands this year. It can also be seen on the set of the show.
The "12 Days of Giveaways" is one of the highlights of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." It is usually the most successful time of year but the gifts this year are nothing like what was handed out to audience members in the past.
"In a typical year, '12 Days of Giveaways' is huge," one current employee said. "We’ve basically claimed Christmas on daytime TV. When you think of Christmas on TV, you think of The Ellen Show. Everyone wants to be in the audience. Everyone wants the gifts. And so we line up all these crazy sponsors, and people love it. But this year, our '12 Days' is more condensed. We don’t have as many sponsors."
The employee added that this could be a defining moment for the show.
"This feels like our make-it-or-break-it moment. This will be our biggest report card. If we pick up sponsors by the new year, then we’re cooking, we’ll be fine, and we’ll sell kindness in a bottle. But if we fail that report card, who knows."
Adding to its woes, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" has seen a dramatic decline in ratings. In October, Nielsen reported a 37% drop in viewership. Last year about 2.7 million people tuned in to watch Season 17 but this year the show attracted roughly 1.7 million viewers for Season 8. The ratings could continue to plummet if the show does not continue to book A-list celebrities but it has been struggling to do so.
"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,'" an employee said. "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."
Booking agents say they are weary to have their clients associated with the show.
"I wouldn’t set up anyone on her show right now to do anything that could possibly cause them more negative headlines," one publicist said on condition of anonymity. "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."
Another prominent publicist said it felt as if the show had lost its authenticity.
"It felt very set up. It’s a place that’s very manufactured for Scooter Braun or for Kim Kardashian’s family to say whatever they wanted," the publicist said. "It became something manufactured as opposed to something more authentic, which it used to be. Ellen started veering towards super Hollywood years ago as opposed to being who she is, and she lost her realness along the way."
Employees are worried about the future of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and others are foreseeing its fall.
"All of these shows are perpetuated by money. When the money dries up, the show dries up," the publicist said. "It doesn’t matter how great you are. If you can’t get advertisers to buy in, that’s the final line."
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