Ellen DeGeneres inks an exclusive multi-year deal with Discovery following scandal over ‘toxic’ work environment
Ellen DeGeneres has inked an exclusive multi-year deal with the Discovery Channel to produce natural history documentaries, according to Deadline.
The 63-year-old star, who faced accusations from both current and former employees that she fostered a toxic workplace last year, is slated to narrate and executive produce a documentary titled Endangered.
Endangered, which will be released on Earth Day, April 22, on Discovery+, will follow a ‘dedicated wildlife conservationists across the globe’ as ‘they compile the latest version of The Red List.’
‘Ellen’s dedication to the environment and her love for all animals, including the most endangered creatures who call our planet home, is unmatched,’ Nancy Daniels, Chief Brand Officer, Discovery and Factual told the outlet.
New project: Ellen DeGeneres has inked an exclusive multi-year deal with the Discovery Channel to produce natural history documentaries, according to Deadline; seen in 2020
She continued: ‘We welcome Ellen and her team to the Discovery family as she brings her humor, her voice, and her ability to inspire to these important passion projects.’
Meanwhile, DeGeneres exclaimed she was ‘excited to partner with Discovery’ and looks forward to learning ‘about incredible animals.’
DeGeneres’ partnership is not surprising as her organization The Ellen Fund, founded by her wife Portia de Rossi in 2018, was created to support global conservation efforts for endangered species.
Over the summer, she was plagued by reports surrounding her daytime talk show, which was hit with its worst ratings in its 17-year history.
Moving on: The 63-year-old star, who faced accusations from both current and former employees that she fostered a toxic workplace last year, is slated to narrate and executive produce a documentary titled Endangered; seen in 2015
Longtime animal activist: Endangered, which will be released on April 22, will follow a ‘dedicated wildlife conservationists across the globe’ as ‘they compile the latest version of The Red List’ (pictured in 2018)
According to The Wrap in August, the daytime talk show only garnered a 1.0 Live + Same Day rating through the week ending July 26, which was 29 per cent down on the same time in 2019, and nine per cent down on the previous week.
During her premiere episode, Ellen addressed the scandal and apologized to her viewers.
‘As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened,’ Ellen told viewers during her opening.
‘I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected,’ she said. ‘I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.’
Over it: Neilsen Media Research, the firm that measures audience size, reported that for Ellen’s September 21 season 18 premiere, the show averaged a 1.2 Live+Same Day household ratings – a 29% drop from her 2019 premiere
She added: ‘Being known as the ‘be-kind lady’ is a tricky position to be in. The truth is I am that person you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient. And I am working on all of that.’
A record number of people tuned in for her first episode back since the scandal – it was her highest-rated premiere since 2016 – but those viewers quickly dropped off.
It is notable that, according to Nielsen, viewership for daytime talk shows was down pretty much across the board with a few exceptions. Live With Kelly and Ryan and Tamron Hall saw a slight uptick in ratings.
Curiosity: A record number of people tuned in for her first episode back since the scandal to see her address the controversy making the episode the highest-rated premiere since 2016 – but those viewers quickly dropped off
Over the summer Ellen did a lot of damage control with both employees and fans to rehab her damaged ‘be kind’ image.
She and top producers on her show were first hit with rampant accusations of workplace misconduct in a July Buzzfeed News article.
The article revealed claims made by one current and 10 former employees of Ellen’s talk show saying they experienced racism, fear and intimidation while working on the long-running series and accusing producers of bullying.
Turned off: The steep decline in viewership of the once popular show suggests that claims from staffers of bullying and harassment from top producers and diva-like behavior from the host pushed fans away
The show then faced additional accusations about sexual misconduct in a second BuzzFeed News article on July 30, in which dozens of men and women accused three executive producers of sexual harassment, misconduct or assault.
The report sparked an internal investigation into the allegations by WarnerMedia and as a result of that inquiry those three executive producers, Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman, were let go.
During a virtual meeting with staff, Ellen announced the firings and apologized to the 200 people on the call.
Be kind? Over the summer Ellen has been doing damage control with both employees and fans to rehab her damaged image following dozens of employees saying they experienced racism, fear and intimidation while working on the long-running series and accused producers of bullying
She also reportedly revealed that the show would be increasing benefits for staffers, including more time off and a better policy for medical leave.
The measures include ‘increased paid time off and a liberal medical leave policy’ and are already having the desired effect of boosting morale, the insider said.
During that call DeGeneres also addressed several of the other accusations leveled against her and other higher-ups on the show, including the rumor that no one is allowed to look her in the eye.
‘Please talk to me. Look me in the eye,’ Ellen allegedly told staff in the call, adding that she didn’t know where the ‘crazy’ rumor came from.
Not true: During a previous call with staff the embattled daytime darling denied the rumor that no one is allowed to look her in the eye
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