EXCLUSIVE: It’s been one year since WarnerMedia launched an internal investigation into Ellen DeGeneres’ eponymous daytime talk show after the host’s “be kind” mantra was called into question.
DeGeneres announced in May the upcoming 19th season of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” will be its last. One day after the announcement, the host said in an interview with “TODAY” that coverage of the alleged workplace misconduct scandal that plagued her show ahead of Season 18 felt “orchestrated.”
In a new interview, a show insider claims to Fox News that there has been a “slightly different environment” one year later.
“There’s now a structure,” the insider alleged.
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Back in August, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. confirmed to Fox News that executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman “parted ways” with the show after an internal investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.
The source recalled staffers were “feeling listened to initially” after the investigation concluded.
DeGeneres said this past spring that she “still” has trouble comprehending the flack that came her way after nearly a dozen past staffers spoke to Buzzfeed News on conditions of anonymity detailing their experience, alleging that top producers on the show have created a nightmarish work environment.
DeGeneres opened Season 18 with an apologetic on-air monologue, telling her audience: “I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power and I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
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DeGeneres also addressed accusations that she is much different on-air than in person despite her pledge to “be kind.”
“There were also articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appeared to be on TV, because I became known as the ‘be kind’ lady. And here’s how that happened: I started saying, ‘be kind to one another’ after a young man named Tyler Clementi took his own life after being bullied for being gay,” DeGeneres said.
She added: “I thought the world needed more kindness and it was a reminder that we all needed that, and I think we need it more than ever right now.”
However, the host allegedly felt as if she were “dead meat,” the insider claimed.
“Ellen felt there was a slight chance she could turn things around this last season but she was unable to do that,” the source further alleged, citing the Season 18 dip in ratings.
Reps for DeGeneres and WarnerMedia did not immediately return Fox News’ requests for comment.
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One former crew member who worked on DeGeneres’ “Ellen” sitcom dating back to the ‘90s recalled in a recent interview the host’s confusion over the scandal. The ex-staffer fears DeGeneres hasn’t assumed full responsibility.
“I don’t think that she’ll ever admit to having done anything wrong,” the former staffer said, claiming DeGeneres has an “ego so big that I don’t think she’s learned.”
“I just want Ellen to understand what happened instead of saying it was ‘orchestrated.’ I think what the crew hopes more than anything is that she’s learned you can’t treat people like that,” the ex-employee said.
“Hopefully they start treating people a little better,” the second insider added of DeGeneres’ final season.
A third insider who previously worked for DeGeneres similarly fears the host “hasn’t learned a lesson” given her announcement and subsequent interview with Savannah Guthrie to which she claimed to have only heard of the alleged toxic environment in the press.
“For me to read in the press about a toxic work environment when all I’ve ever heard from every guest that comes on the show is what a happy atmosphere this is and what a happy place is,” DeGeneres claimed at the time.
DeGeneres noted that there are 255 employees that make up her show so she doesn’t know “how I could have known” the alleged behavior was going on.
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Questions still remain as to what DeGeneres has in store for her last season, and if the scandal may still have an effect on ratings. Eric Schiffer, an author and leading expert in media and branding, tells Fox News viewers will likely see Season 19 filled with nostalgia.
“I would imagine they’re going to stick with what the core audience like and probably set things up in ways that will be nostalgic and wrap her in the memories of things that people loved prior to the problems so she can pull at the heartstrings,” the chairman of Reputation Management Consultants weighed in.
And despite Schiffer feeling as if DeGeneres “led one of the biggest scams in American talk show history,” her career in television is likely not over for good.
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“I think the career of Ellen as a talk show host for the next few years is dead and buried in a Hollywood cemetery. There’s an opportunity at some point for her to perhaps regain a social platform and show and maybe do specials like Oprah Winfrey but it will be just narrow audiences,” the expert said.