Why Ellen DeGeneres' Possible Exit From Talk Show Would Be Complicated

As investigators look into claims from current and former employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show that the daytime show has a "toxic culture" filled with harassment and intimidation, an insider told Page Six that calls for DeGeneres to be replaced by another host are more complicated for WarnerMedia than a simple change with production. "Everybody knows Ellen is mean and incredibly difficult. Now that Warners has launched an investigation, there are a lot of employees coming forward with accounts they can’t ignore," the insider alleged.

"This puts Warners in a difficult position contractually with Ellen — they put hundreds of millions of dollars into their deal with her. If they decide they want her out — which looks increasingly likely — this will be a big legal problem," they continued. "Plus, she’d never leave without her reputation intact." The other "big problem," the insider added, is there is "no replacement" for the comedian.

After all, DeGeneres has a media empire behind her successful hosting job. In 2016, the actress established the Ellen Digital Network under Warner Bros., and signed last May a deal to continue her talk show through 2022. Her company, A Very Good Production, is also responsible for series for NBC and Discovery Channel as well as film adaptations. Representatives for DeGeneres and Warner Bros. didn’t respond for a request for comment from Page Six, but told the outlet Thursday, "We are disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management."

After reports about the culture behind the scenes at Ellen went public, the host attempted to shift blame for onto her executive producers, saying in a memo to her staff Thursday that she was unaware of how things had changed from her original intentions. "On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness – no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect," the comedian wrote. "Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry. Anyone who knows me knows it’s the opposite of what I believe and what I hoped for our show."

She continued, "My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that," she wrote, adding that as the media empire has grown "exponentially," she has "not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I’d want them done." The host wrote that "clearly some didn’t," and promised that these things "will now change and I’m committed to ensuring this does not happen again."