Ellen’s Ratings Plummeted During Premiere Week

Did a summer of scandals have a negative effect on DeGeneres’s viewership?

After a long summer dogged by accusations of fostering a toxic work environment, firing key producers for alleged sexual misconduct, and even being called out for supposedly setting “traps” for household staffers, Ellen DeGeneres did not lure throngs of fans to see if “Nice Ellen” was returning to daytime TV.

Although the first episode of Ellen’s 18th season—in which the host addressed the controversy and apologized to her employees—was on par with last year’s ratings, her Nielsen numbers for the rest of the week of September 21 averaged a 1.2 share for Live+Same Day household viewing, or a 29 percent plunge from the same time period in 2019, Variety reports.

In overall ratings, Ellen fared even more dismally, pulling in an average of 1.7 million viewers per episode, a fall of 37 percent compared to last year’s opening week.

Still, after more than six months of lockdown and streaming services dominating television, ratings suggest that enthusiasm for syndicated talk shows is cratering across the board. Daytime talkers have sunk 19 percent on average year-over-year in overall household ratings, and are down 21 percent among adults aged 25 to 54. After Ellen, Wendy Williams was the second biggest premiere week loser with a 24 percent drop, with The Kelly Clarkson Show taking the bronze at 19 percent, while Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz saw the pretend medical community take hits of 18 and 17 percent, respectively.

Only Live with Kelly and Ryan and Tamron Hall escaped the daytime bloodshed, with Ripa and Seacrest gaining four percent and Hall up two points from last year.

In the season opener, DeGeneres promised viewers a “new chapter” of Ellen.

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