Ellen DeGeneres announces she has COVID-19, talk show shut down
Ellen DeGeneres has tested positive for COVID-19.
The embattled daytime talk show host revealed her health status on The Ellen DeGeneres Show's Twitter feed on Thursday.
"Hi Everyone," DeGeneres wrote. "I want to let you all know that I tested positive for Covid-19. Fortunately, I'm feeling fine right now. Anyone who has been in close contact with me has been notified, and I am following all proper CDC guidelines. I'll see you all again after the holidays. Please stay healthy and safe."
A spokesperson for studio Telepictures released this statement: "Following Ellen’s announcement this morning, we have paused production on the Ellen DeGeneres Show until January."
The announcement comes on the heels of a Buzzfeed report that The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been losing advertising and celebrity booking – not to mention slipping in the ratings – in the wake of allegations of the host fostering a toxic workplace.
“In a typical year, ‘12 Days of Giveaways’ is huge," an employee told Buzzfeed. "We’ve basically claimed Christmas on daytime TV ... Everyone wants to be in the audience. Everyone wants the gifts. And so we line up all these crazy sponsors, and people love it. But this year, our ‘12 Days’ is more condensed. We don’t have as many sponsors. This feels like our make-it-or-break-it moment. This will be our biggest report card..." and "For the first time ... you have an idea for a celeb, even if they’re not A-list or famous, we’ll take anyone who will bring us numbers and eyeballs."
Over the course of just a few months over the summer, DeGeneres had gone from a daytime queen with the mantra "be kind" to a vilified figure, particularly on social media. A slew of employees and others accused the trailblazing talk show host of fostering a toxic work environment, one that included allegations of sexual misconduct, racism, and a "culture of fear." Studio Warner Bros. confirmed that executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman have left the show (and have denied any wrongdoing).
DeGeneres returned to the airwaves in September for her 18th season premiere. "As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show," DeGeneres told her audience during the premiere. "And then there was an investigation. 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. I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power. I realized that with that comes responsibility and I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I am Ellen DeGeneres. My name is there. My name is there. My name is on underwear. We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes. And today we are starting a new chapter."
DeGeneres has also repeatedly apologized to her staff. As previously reported by EW, DeGeneres spoke in a Zoom meeting with her staff on Aug. 17 about being introverted and having good days and bad days, which caused her to keep to herself at times, something she acknowledged could be misinterpreted as her not being nice. “Does that mean I’m perfect? No. I’m not," she was heard saying. "I’m a multi-layered person, and I try to be the best person I can be and I try to learn from my mistakes." The staff was also given a new perks package that included additional paid time off and an improved medical leave policy.