Ellen wants out of her show, so who will replace her?
A Controversial Year
It is no secret that 2020 has brought a world of changes to Hollywood. With movie and TV production slowed to a crawl in some areas, and ground to a complete halt in others, things are a little weird right now. Some celebrities are choosing to continue to produce content from home, using technology to provide the most normalcy they can to their fans, and creatively keeping jobs alive for some of their employees.
No celebrities, however, would choose to be at the center of the controversy surrounding Ellen DeGeneres this year. A staple in US households, Ellen’s name has been well-known for decades. She has never shied away from pushing the envelope, and many Americans remember when she came out as openly gay in a time when it simply wasn’t done.
Ellen DeGeneres Has Done Good
As one of the forerunners of LGBTQ advocacy in mainstream Hollywood, her career has always been under a microscope.
DeGeneres established a successful persona as a witty, sarcastic, often goofy performer who could crack a joke with a straight face and have people howling at her humor. Her popular daytime TV talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, has racked up a huge following of fans who tune in to see her interview celebrities and normal people who have done extraordinary things.
Using her show as a platform, DeGeneres has also gained a reputation for being generous and thoughtful; often giving away mind-blowing sums of money or support to families or individuals who are in need, or whose charities can benefit from her status and financial support. DeGeneres has worked with dozens of companies who sponsor her generosity, and as a whole has created an image of kindness and benevolence.
However, things may not be as they seem.
Shocking Allegations Inside The Ellen Show
This year, shocking allegations have come to the forefront of DeGeneres’s career. These allegations include sexual misconduct by employees, racism, pay issues, and a toxic work culture. Fans, former employees, and former guests of the show have come forward with thousands of allegations of mistreatment both by the star herself and by those she employs.
A tweet by Kevin T Porter (a comedian/writer/podcast producer), encouraging people to come forward with their bad experiences, has garnered more than 2,500 responses, and the look is not good for DeGeneres. It turns out that her kind and generous persona may be just that, a persona. In person, DeGeneres is frequently described as rude, cold, and abrasive.
Out of concern for both those involved and the image of their brand, the companies that produce her show, Warner Media and Telepictures, have launched an investigation into some of the claims.
We explored the allegations and have found all signs point to difficult days ahead for DeGeneres and her show.
Ellen Wants Out!
While producers have spoken out and denied any intention of shuttering the show, it seems likely that they will still have to pay the piper for ignoring what has added up to as years of misconduct and mistreatment of guests and employees. The pressure seems to have gotten to the talk show star, who has signaled to those close to her that she may not be able to remain her position. Her brand is at risk, and, The Daily Mail reports that a source close to the situation says, “She feels she can’t go on and the only way to recover her personal brand from this is to shut down the show. The truth is, she knew what was going on, it’s her show.”
If Ellen steps down, what happens to the show? It has a massive following and has done good things for many people over the years. It seems likely that they will want to replace her. How do you follow such a Titan?
Who could replace her?
This is a question haunting many fans, and likely the producers themselves despite their public signals to continue supporting DeGeneres.
One likely replacement gaining some buzz is none other than James Corden, comedian and host of the Late Late Show. The Sun reports that NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy is a fan of Corden and has felt that he was a long-standing candidate to replace her, even before the scandal broke.
Corden is a comedian and well-loved by his fans, but he comes with his own set of baggage and his own problematic history. People who have worked with and for him in the past suggest that he, too, presents a charming and kind exterior but behaves in a completely opposite way backstage and in his real life.
Things Remain Turbulent
Regardless of who replaces her, for now, the situation remains fluid and turbulent. DeGeneres has signaled to those close to her that she is angry, and feels betrayed. A letter to employees that was obtained by US Weekly shows the softer, kinder side of DeGeneres as she attempts to apologize.
In the letter, DeGeneres says, “On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness – no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something has changed, and I am disappointed to learn this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry.”
While her apology does seem heartfelt, much of the letter is spent explaining that the environment DeGeneres envisioned for her show is not what others perceive as reality, and suggesting that her outsourcing of important tasks has led to a workplace environment she was both unaware of and not endorsing. The many experiences by show guests and fans suggest this may be disingenuous and points to a desire to pass blame down the line, avoiding accountability while showing limited remorse.
Only Time Will Tell
It is understandable that after years of cultivating her persona and creating a show based around inclusivity, kindness, and generosity, she would feel frustrated and hurt by the imminent collapse of her reputation. Some celebrities have battled back from greater scandals than this. Will DeGeneres be one of those, or will she step down and let someone like Corden fill her shoes? Only time will tell, but as the investigation by Warner Media and Telepictures is ongoing, what is certain is that Ellen is facing changes ahead.