With the 18th season debut of The Ellen DeGeneres Show approaching in September, staffers are seeing some changes behind the scenes.
Following allegations of a toxic work environment at the long-running daytime talk show, employees will be getting some additional benefits, Variety confirmed on Thursday, Aug. 20. According to the report, citing a source "familiar with the series," those benefits include birthdays off, paid time for doctors' appointments and family matters as well as five paid days off.
Per Variety, executive producers Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner announced the news during a virtual town hall on Monday, Aug. 17, which also featured an apology from DeGeneres. "Everyone was encouraged, in multiple ways, to speak up on anything they feel," a source told E! News.
According to a second source, "Insiders said the new perks and a direct address from DeGeneres have improved morale this week, as rehearsals for DeGeneres' spinoff show Ellens' Game of Games resumed, and the talk show team began waking up production offices and sound stages."
The announcements have been met with a positive response, a third source, who used to work on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, explained. "Some former employees are happy to hear about the changes. After all, people spoke out in the first place because they wanted current staffers to have a better working experience," the source shared. "It will be interesting to see how the season goes on."
With such changes in place, we're told producers and talent bookers are now hard at work to secure top celebrity talent for the upcoming season.
A fourth source remarked, "Show leaders are looking for established A-listers as well as a diverse group of emerging talent that Ellen can showcase on her show."
On Monday, a spokesperson for Warner Bros. confirmed that senior producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman had "parted ways with The Ellen DeGeneres Show." E! News also confirmed that the show's beloved DJ, Stephen "tWitch" Boss, has been promoted to co-executive producer.
In a letter to staff in July, the famous host addressed the emerging complaints, writing in part, "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. 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."
The star also took ultimate ownership, stating, "My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that."
An internal investigation was also conducted after accusations about the show's workplace environment and culture emerged. Warner Bros. later confirmed some "deficiencies" were found.
"Warner Bros. and Ellen DeGeneres take the recent allegations around the show's workplace culture very seriously. We hoped to determine the validity and extent of publicly reported allegations and to understand the full breadth of the show's day-to-day culture," Warner Bros. began in a statement. "As a result, WarnerMedia interviewed dozens of current and former employees about the environment at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. It was important to both Warner Bros. and Ellen that as many people as possible attached to the program could be heard. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is, and has always strived to be, a place that brings positivity to the world."
"And though not all of the allegations were corroborated," the statement continued, "we are disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show's day-to-day management. We have identified several staffing changes, along with appropriate measures to address the issues that have been raised, and are taking the first steps to implement them. Warner Bros. and Ellen DeGeneres are all committed to ensuring a workplace based on respect and inclusion. We are confident this course of action will lead us to the right way forward for the show."