‘Ellen’ Ratings Hit All-Time Low Last Month Amid Reports of Toxic Workplace Culture

Daytime talk show’s ratings slid to a 1.0 in the week after Buzzfeed published the first of two stories featuring multiple staffers speaking out

The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Warner Bros.

Ratings for Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show sunk to a new series low last month following a bombshell Buzzfeed News report about the toxic work environment behind the scenes.

“Ellen” reruns drew a 1.0 Live + Same Day household rating in the week ended July 26, 2020, according to Nielsen. That was down 9% from the prior week and a glaring -29% from the same week last summer.

That 29% decline compares with a -27% drop in the prior week (vs. the comparable week in 2019), which was the same week in which Buzzfeed published its first story about “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

The 1.0 rating tied “Ellen” with “Steve Wilkos.” Wilkos, the “Jerry Springer Show’s” former omnipresent security guard, saw his self-named talk show rise 11% in the week ending July 26.

It is worth pointing out here that ratings in general for the syndicated talk shows are currently low as they air summer repeats. Other talk shows with declines similar to Ellen’s are “Dr. Oz” (-33%), “The Real” (-20%) and “The Doctors” (-20%).

“Dr. Phil” was again the winner, with a 1.8 rating. “Live With Kelly and Ryan” drew a 1.6 and “Maury” had a 1.1. All of these were steady with the previous week, and each topped “Ellen.”

The last time Maury Povich’s talk show topped DeGeneres was in 2016, when Ellen’s rating were removed from consideration due to the Rio Summer Olympics. Wilkos has never tied “Ellen” — at least not within recent memory.

Beyond the talk genre, courtroom shows “Judge Judy” (a 5.7) and “Hot Bench” (a 2.1) easily dominated the rest of daytime syndication.

In the Buzzfeed story, 10 former employees and one current “Ellen” staffer detailed instances of the negative culture at Ellen DeGeneres’ show, including “microaggressions” toward an employee of color and occasions where individuals were fired for taking time off to attend funerals or due to medical problems. A follow-up report on July 30 cited 36 additional anonymous sources and detailed allegations of sexual misconduct by three of the show’s producers.


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