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Ellen DeGeneres Show struggling to book stars and sponsors after ‘toxic’ workplace scandal, report says

‘This feels like our make-it-or-break-it moment,’ an employee tells Buzzfeed News

Rachel Brodsky
Los Angeles
Thursday 10 December 2020 09:07 GMT
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The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been back on the air for two months, following explosive allegations of workplace toxicity and sexual assault.

BuzzFeed News, which broke the story back in June, followed up today (9 December) with a report that Ellen has been losing advertisers and sponsors and has been having trouble booking celebrity guests.

In November 2019, according to the report, Ellen’s Instagram featured 12 sponsored posts from eight different brands, but this year, the same account features about half as many sponsors.

December is allegedly supposed to be a big month for Ellen, optically speaking, as the holiday season always features "12 Days of Giveaways." But this year, according to internal sources, the coronavirus pandemic and travel restrictions have affected the daytime show's ability to give gifts, which have historically included destination trips.

"In a typical year, ‘12 Days of Giveaways’ is huge," an anonymous 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.

Read More: Ellen DeGeneres series wins People’s Choice Award despite ‘toxic’ workplace scandal

"This feels like our make-it-or-break-it moment," the employee continued. "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."

Ellen, too, is reportedly having trouble booking talent for interviews, with industry publicists telling BuzzFeed News that clients feel reluctant to appear on the show, even via videoconference.

"I wouldn’t set up anyone on her show right now to do anything that could possibly cause them more negative headlines,” an anonymous publicist said. "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 publicist cited the show's falling ratings as a reason for a drop-off in major celebrity guests, saying there are more popular options for clients out there right now, like newer shows hosted by Kelly Clarkson and Drew Barrymore.

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A source close to the show, maintained that there has been "no difficulty booking talent" on the show.

Ellen's representatives are understood to disagree with the picture painted, and believe that some of the claims are contradicted.

DeGeneres, despite the undesirable press and workplace toxicity allegations, is still due to host the show through 2022. 

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