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According to a report in the New York Times, recent Nielsen data shows Ellen viewership has dropped by 1.1 million people this season, from 2.6 million viewers to 1.5 million viewers. Those numbers account for a 43-percent decline in viewership, and more specifically, a 38-percent decline in viewership from her core demographic of adult women under 54.
The decline follows allegations that the show was a toxic workplace behind the scenes, including accusations of racism and sexual misconduct against producers. Warner Bros. investigated the complaints and uncovered "deficiencies," leading to the firing of three high-level producers. DeGeneres apologized to staff privately before addressing the allegations on air when the show returned for its 18th season.
Brooks Kraft/Getty Ellen DeGeneres
"I learned that things happen here that never should have happened," she said. "I take that very seriously. And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected."
Executives at Telepictures, the Warner Bros. subsidiary that produces the show, cite a different reason for the decline though, suggesting it has more to do with America changing its viewing habits in wake of the pandemic.
DeGeneres is still set to host her Emmy-winning talk show through the 2021-2022 TV season and has not indicated yet if it will be her last.