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'The Ellen Show' Up After Thanksgiving Giveaways, Despite Drama & Sponsorship Drop

Ellen DeGeneres at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards
Source: MEGA

Dec. 10 2020, Updated 12:58 p.m. ET

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And the drama continues! The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been hit hard due to the accusations of workplace misconduct and was down on sponsors, viewers and A-list guests, but the show did seem to bounce back somewhat over Thanksgiving.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s "12 Days of Giveaways" garnered an 18 percent boost in household numbers in the session which ended on November 29. The Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend usually sees other shows take a hit due to the holidays as well as football and politics. However, the show was still down 35% from the same time last year so "12 Days of Giveaways" wasn’t a saving grace. 

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"In a typical year, '12 Days of Giveaways' is huge. We’ve basically claimed Christmas on daytime TV. When you think of Christmas on TV, you think of The Ellen Show," an unnamed employee told Buzzfeed News. "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."

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"This feels like our make-it-or-break-it moment. This will be our biggest report card. If we pick up sponsors by the new year, then we’re cooking, we’ll be fine, and we’ll sell kindness in a bottle. But if we fail that report card, who knows," the employee added. 

Behind the scenes, staffers said that content production has dipped due to fewer advertiser funds, which is why old bits have been aired. While being strapped for cash can be linked to bad publicity, the coronavirus pandemic is a big factor as well. 

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In November 2019, the show’s Instagram account had 12 sponsored posts from eight brands whereas this year, they only had six posts from two different brands

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"For the first time, everyone was starting to ask us, 'If you have an idea, tell us because we will listen. If 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,'" one insider said. "That’s when they started to be real with us and essentially said, 'Give us anything because we need help.' Our old strategy doesn’t work anymore."

Other staffers revealed that they "aren’t booking as many of their clients on the daytime talk show" as they have in the past.

A lot of publicists are hesitant to put their clients on the show as they don’t want to be associated with Ellen DeGeneres' bad reputation. "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. We’re not going to align anyone with Ellen," one publicist told Buzzfeed.

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However, another source close to the show told the publication the opposite. 

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"The show is fully booked and a lot of those guests are exclusive to Ellen, and that’s even more remarkable because as you know, there are no movies opening, there are no concerts being had, there are no TV events or premieres," they said. "So the whole talk show circuit that these major celebrities do is not happening."

In November, a source told OK! that DeGeneres was not taking a pay cut to save the jobs of staffers, despite other talk show hosts — Jay Leno, Trevor Noah and James Corden — helping out their crews.

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