The ratings for Ellen have cratered following allegations that the set of the popular daytime talk show was a toxic work environment. In the first week of shows since the allegations came to light this summer, Ellen DeGeneres' audience fell by 38 percent compared to this same time last year.
On Sept. 21, during her first show back, Ellen took responsibility for the set of her show and apologized to anyone who had been hurt.
"I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. 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."
To that end, several of the show's producers were fired between seasons. Internally, the show held discussions about how to build a better work environment, with DeGeneres and her parent company both committing to creating a space free from racism and sexism in letters and statements. Ellen addressed the accusations leveled at her, specifically that her good-natured persona is a put-on, in the first episode.
"Being known as the 'be-kind lady' is a tricky position to be in," DeGeneres said. "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.
"I'm especially working on the impatience thing. And it's not going well, because it's not happening fast enough," she joked.
That first episode garnered huge ratings, full of people looking to see how DeGeneres would respond. The premiere was her highest-rated since 2016. But that quickly fell off as the week went on. The entire daytime talk sector is seeing a decline in ratings, with Wendy Williams, Kelly Clarkson and Dr. Phil all losing a significant amount of their audience. But even among this drop, Ellen's decline from 2.67 million average viewers to 1.66 million is notable.
Some shows actually gained viewers over last year, making Ellen's drop all the more concerning. Live with Kelly and Ryan grew its massive audience to 2.5 million while Tamron Hall's talk show grew by 4 percent to 1.2 million average viewers.