Ellen DeGeneres is probably ready to chuck 2020 in the trash bin — even more so than the rest of us — because it just wasn’t her year. The daytime talk show host just tweeted an announcement she tested positive for COVID-19, and this latest news must only add to DeGeneres’ woes as she tries to recover from this summer’s toxic work environment allegations.
She wrote, “Hi Everyone, I want to let you all know that I have tested positive for COVID-19.” She added that she’s “feeling fine right now” and that she’s also following all of the recommended CDC guidelines. “I’ll see you all again after the holidays. Please stay healthy and safe,” she added. Tapings of the show have been paused and the cast and crew will return in January, per The Hollywood Reporter.
It’s a relief that DeGeneres has what appears, so far, to be a mild case of COVID. And while it’s certainly a scary and stressful diagnosis for anyone, for DeGeneres it can only be the icing on the cake of an already-bad year, given the bumpy road of 2020. After an explosive BuzzFeed News feature came out in late July with reports of racism and sexual harassment, DeGeneres has been forced to make meaningful changes behind the scenes — including firing three of her executive producers and promoting on-air talent Stephen “tWitch” Boss to co-executive producer and her official guest host when she’s on vacation.
The bad publicity has reportedly taken a toll on the advertising revenue and the crucial component to any talk show — booking A-list guests, too. According to BuzzFeed News, Hollywood publicists are keeping their celebrity clients away from the show because they don’t want them to be a part of “her comeback tour.” The stench from the summer scandal is still wafting in the entertainment industry and insiders are apparently worried about putting their stars into a situation that might generate “negative headlines.”
“You have to tread so carefully with your clients and your clients’ reputations, so you don’t want to put your client in any line of fire sympathizing with someone that any community or anyone would feel bad about,” an insider told BuzzFeed News. “We’re not going to align anyone with Ellen.”
A source at DeGeneres’ show is saying those allegations aren’t true and that they’ve had “no difficulty booking talent,” but A-list stars aren’t doing as much press due to the pandemic. That does make sense given the fact that big blockbuster movies have been moved to 2021 and large concert tours are currently on hold. As a result, “the whole talk show circuit that these major celebrities do is not happening,” says the insider.
Plus: DeGeneres also has major competition with The Drew Barrymore Show and Kelly Clarkson’s daytime TV show. Since they’re the new kids on the block, their shows feel fresher compared to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which is currently in its 18th season.
It’s no doubt that DeGeneres is looking forward to a new year where she can put some of 2020’s ick behind her. The big question is if the A-list talent will return once the controversy has subsided and she’s proven that her workplace environment has improved. In the meantime, her job is to quarantine and get better soon.
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