Ellen Called 'Talk Show Karen' as Producers Pledge, 'The Show Will Go On'

Tuesday August 4, 2020

Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres  (Source:Associated Press)

Ellen DeGeneres plans on returning to television later this month as her producers promise staff better work environment, while former staffers label her 'Talk Show Karen.'

After rumors circulated this weekend that Ellen was ready to quit the show, it was announced that she would be back to work, first on "Game of Games," which she hosts, on August 24; then her own show that is scheduled for a September 9 premiere.

Some members of her senior staff reported to work on Monday, Variety reports, and immediately addressed "staff accounts of workplace misconduct on the popular daytime talk series, which are currently being investigated by WarnerMedia" with a phone meeting.

"The producers held a call with staffers on Monday, August 3, one week after WarnerMedia announced its internal review of the daytime talk show," Us Weekly reports on Tuesday morning. "A source tells Us Weekly exclusively that they 'addressed' the media reports during the meeting and said they want their team to "have fun at work." Among those attending the meeting were executive producers Andy Lassner, Mary Connelly and Derek Westervelt."

The executives, a source told Us Weekly, that some of the allegations made against Ellen and the show's staff are true, some are not, and things would be different in the future. Some staffers expressed concerns and that some producers were called out for their past behaviors. But the source said the producers said that Ellen "is not giving up and the show will go on. ... That woman brings so much joy to people that it would break a lot of hearts to stop doing this show. It was a pep talk and made some staffers feel better."

These reports came as some celebrities, such as Katy Perry, expressed their support of Ellen in a series of late night tweets; while former staffers labeled her 'Talk Show Karen'. "Who would've thought that one of America's most loved personalities would morph into America's most famous Karen?" production sources told the Daily Mail. "There's no way anyone on staff wants Karen and her band of toxic executives to return."

Meanwhile rumors swirled that DeGeneres, who has hosted the show since 2003 and has won 61 Emmy Awards for her brand of easy-going interviews and for her "nice" brand, was going to be replaced. Jennifer Aniston, Sean Hayes, Kristin Bell, Tiffany Haddish, and Melissa McCarthy are celebrities being mentioned as possible replacements. James Corden, who was rumored to be the replacement, is out of the running due to his CBS contract, the source told the Daily Mail. "Regardless, he's busy enough in late night so it's not going to happen," they said.

"Sean [Hayes] is currently the front runner as he has availability and he has proven successful when he has guest hosted Ellen in the past," the source said said. "It's funny how history repeats itself. Many of us remember when Rosie O'Donnell was the queen of nice. Look how that turned out. She wasn't!

"Ellen is Rosie 2.0. Everyone now knows that she is not what she sold herself as. She's just mean, mean, mean."

But with weeks before the new season is to begin (on September 8), the producers face a time-crunch if Ellen walks and they seek a replacement. Otherwise, the source says, NBC will give her coveted time slot to Kelly Clarkson.

But Variety asked experts in crisis management if the damage is already done to Ellen's "nice" image. "What makes it difficult, with the kind of crisis this is, is it's not an acute problem" such as harassment by DeGeneres herself or embezzlement, said Ketchum senior VP of issues and crisis management Andrew Moesel. "It's more a challenge to her entire brand ethos, which is as a friendly, relatable person next door, which is really the way that viewers perceive her and her value as an entertainer."

The allegations "create a sizable crack in the impression of her as a friendly, next-door neighbor that you're spending your afternoon with," he said.

Comments on Facebook