THINGS are a bit different on the set of the Ellen show these days. Because of the pandemic, many celeb guests, from Chris Rock to Kristen Bell, are appearing from home, with only a handful stopping by the Burbank, Calif., studio to talk with host Ellen DeGeneres in person. And while DJ Twitch is stationed behind his turntables as usual, Ellen’s studio audience — those rows of smiling, dancing fans — is nowhere to be found.
They’re not the only ones missing. In the weeks after the scandal-plagued 62-year-old returned to the air with an apology addressing allegations of a “toxic” environment on her show, viewers have been leaving in droves. Ratings for her 18th season premiere week plummeted 38 percent from last year, with the syndicated talk show averaging 1.66 million viewers for the week of Sept. 21, down from 2.67 million for the opening week in 2019, according to Nielsen. Now sources say the onetime queen of daytime TV is desperate. “Ellen’s been walking a tightrope for months and feels like it’s all caving in on her,” an insider tells Star. “With these numbers coming in, the consensus is the viewers have spoken and Ellen’s looking like damaged goods at this point.”
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