Following a summer of negative reports about the workplace environment behind the scenes at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Sept. 21 premiere episode's ratings were on par with previous premieres. The show came in just behind The View as the top-rated daytime talk show. DeGeneres opened her first show back with a monologue addressing the reports of mistreatment and misconduct by her producers.
Ellen's season premiere earned a 1.9 household rating, the exact same as last season's premiere, reports Variety. The show did have a small increase in the 25-54 age demographic, considered the key demo for syndication talk shows, climbing from 0.8 in 2019 to 0.9 this year. It was the best result in the demo since the 2016-2017 season premiere. The View was the overall winner with a 2.7 household rating. Ellen and The View tied in the women 25-54 demo, with both earning a 1.1 rating.
DeGeneres opened the episode by talking about the allegations of sexual harassment, racism, and mistreatment from senior producers that surfaced in BuzzFeed News reports. The allegations led to WarnerMedia hiring independent investigators to look into the show. Following the investigation, executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman were fired. DJ Stephen "tWitch" Boss was also promoted to executive producer.
"I learned that things happened here that never should have happened," DeGeneres told viewers. "I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people that were affected." The comedian noted that she is in a "position of privilege and power" and understands that comes with responsibility. "I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres," she said.
DeGeneres did not specifically address individual allegations, but she said the "necessary changes" were made and the show is starting a "new chapter." "The truth is, I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things," DeGeneres continued. "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 am a work in progress."
DeGeneres' monologue did include a joke about reports that she banned staffers from looking her in the eye. "I'm excited to see all of my staff and my crew," she said. "Hi, everybody. Please don't look me in the eye. Oh, I'm kidding. But I will be passing out gum for everyone. Kidding again."