Discovery has signed Ellen DeGeneres to an exclusive, multiyear deal to produce natural history content for Discovery+ and linear TV.
DeGeneres will “develop and produce a variety of specials, series, and documentaries that will bring her unique charm, passion and wit both in front of and behind the camera,” Discovery said in a press release.
She’ll narrate and executive produce Discovery and BBC’s “Endangered,” for starters.
From Discovery and the BBC Natural History Unit, “Endangered” follows the effort of dedicated wildlife conservationists across the globe as they work to compile the latest version of The Red List — the most comprehensive record of the state of the world’s wildlife that has ever been created, according to Discovery.
In addition to serving as an executive producer, DeGeneres also narrates the documentary. This is the first time she’s done that.
“Endangered” is the BBC Studios Natural History Unit’s first non-BBC commission and launches on Discovery+ on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.
DeGeneres’ Discovery slate will be executive produced by Jeff Kleeman, the president of Ellen’s AVGP company, as well as Howard Swartz, who is senior vice president of documentaries and specials at Discovery.
“Ellen’s dedication to the environment and her love for all animals, including the most endangered creatures who call our planet home, is unmatched… We welcome Ellen and her team to the Discovery family as she brings her humor, her voice, and her ability to inspire to these important passion projects,” says Nancy Daniels, chief brand officer of Discovery’s factual programming.
“I’m so excited to partner with Discovery,” DeGeneres said. I’ll get to discover all kinds of things about incredible animals. For instance, did you know the Ring-Tailed Lemur’s tail is longer than its body? I think that’s his tail. I hope that’s his tail. I have so much to discover with Discovery.”
The deal is a bright spot in a rough let’s-call-it 10 months for Ellen.
Last year, WarnerMedia’s investigation into multiple accusations of workplace and sexual misconduct at “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” as first reported by BuzzFeed News, resulted in the syndicated talk show removing three of its top producers: Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman.
In a memo to staff back in July, DeGeneres said she was “disappointed” to learn that employees felt mistreated while working on her show and committed herself to “ensuring this does not happen again.”
Ellen then apologized on-air, though that did not universally go over so well.
We told you it’s been rough.