‘Yes, we’re gonna talk about it,’ Ellen DeGeneres says of embattled show’s return
Amid accusations of a toxic workplace and a celebrity campaign to salvage the host’s allegedly mercurial reputation, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” will indeed return for another season. And its embattled star will remain firmly in her armchair.
“I can’t wait to get back to work and back to our studio. And, yes, we’re gonna talk about it,” host Ellen DeGeneres said in a Tuesday statement announcing the talk show’s return.
Of course, the “it” she’s referring to is the workplace scandal that has followed her namesake series all summer long and called into question the future of the Emmy-winning series.
The daytime talk show will return for Season 18 on Sept. 21 and will resume filming on the Warner Bros. lot with an in-studio audience. After a brief hiatus, DeGeneres started filming the show from her Montecito home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The “Ellen” scandal has gripped us in part because it’s so familiar: From “Larry Sanders” to “The Morning Show,” TV sees itself as an awful place to work.
But controversy loomed over the show — her “place of happiness” — since March following a viral Twitter thread by comedian Kevin T. Porter that solicited negative experiences related to the series and DeGeneres, whom he accused of being “notoriously one of the meanest people alive.”
Allegations culminated in a July Buzzfeed story alleging instances of intimidation of current and former employees. Some crew members complained they were abandoned during the shutdown. A second report detailed instances of sexual misconduct involving the show’s three top producers.
The accusations conflicted with the happy-go-lucky image DeGeneres curated for herself and the feel-good series, whose tag line is “Be kind to one another.” Her apologetic memo to the staff appeared to make matters worse, as did the legion of celebrity supporters who came to her defense during the growing #ReplaceEllen social media campaign.
After a wave of complaints from those working on the comedian’s long running show, three top producers depart.
In August, executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman stepped down after an investigation by the Warner Bros.-produced talk show. The studio said that veteran producers Mary Connelly, Andy Lassner and Derek Westervelt will continue in their positions. And Stephen “tWitch” Boss, the resident DJ on the show, was upped to co-executive producer.
Tuesday’s statement about the series’ new season promised that DeGeneres “will continue to deliver uplifting, inspiring, and hilarious experiences to viewers.”
When the show returns, DeGeneres is bringing a slew of celebrity guests with her. Actress Tiffany Haddish will join the host in-studio for the premiere. Actors Kerry Washington and Alec Baldwin and entertainer Chrissy Teigen also will appear during the series’ first week back.
Guests slated for the rest of the month include actor-comedians Chris Rock, Adam Sandler and Amy Schumer and actor Orlando Bloom.
tWitch also is scheduled to guest host upcoming episodes this fall.
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