Ellen DeGeneres has not had the best year of her professional life. After some of her current employees began to voice their issues with her daytime show, the summer of 2020 saw several former employees come forward and detail a number of troubling problems they'd had with some of the top creatives behind the scenes, leading to three of those executives being fired. Along with that, all of the bad press led to a dramatic drop in viewership between Seasons 17 and the current Season 18, and mid-May saw the host announced that she'd retire after next season. Now, former The Rosie O'Donnell Show and The View host Rosie O'Donnell has weighed in on DeGeneres' exit.
Along with also being a stand-up comedian who came to prominence in the late 1980s, Rosie O'Donnell, of course, knows more than a bit about the daytime talk show game. She hosted her own incredibly popular, multi-Emmy award-winning show from 1996-2002, and then became one of the co-hosts of The View during both Seasons 10 and 18. While hosting her own series, O'Donnell quickly became known as "The Queen of Nice" for her easy-going celebrity interviews and light-hearted interactions with her audience, but that changed completely when she stepped into her role on The View.
So, she probably has a unique perspective on everything that's been happening with Ellen DeGeneres, who's been known for her "Be Kind" slogan for many years, and her talk show over the past year or so. With that, while O'Donnell was being interviewed on The Jess Cagle Show, she was asked about having the title of The Queen of Nice and how DeGeneres' similar public persona might have helped lead to her ending the show after all of the controversies. O'Donnell said:
I don't think it was the 'be kind' thing that got her. I think that's an oversimplification. It was a lot of things and it was complicated, but I'm glad she's gonna be finished and get some time to herself. It's a huge, kind of strange thing to be on a show like that, and have all that attention on you. And she had it for like, 19 years. So, you know, it's a tough thing.
As Rosie O'Donnell noted, it is an incredible oversimplification to say that Ellen DeGeneres being known as the "Be Kind" lady is what led to what's become of her show and its legacy. But, I can see where it probably also didn't help as very negative and shocking allegations against the show, and DeGeneres herself, began to mount.
If she had, let's say, been known for playfully mean-spirited jokes and not made so much of her brand about being good to others, it likely would have been less surprising for fans to find out that DeGeneres, apparently, wasn't paying much attention to how those working behind the scenes of her show were being treated.
As it stands, the realization that there was enough truth to the claims of sexual misconduct, harassment, assault, and a generally toxic workplace which was also prone to racial discrimination and microaggressions, seems to have caused that major decline in viewers that The Ellen Show has seen in Season 18. We can't know whether or not audiences would have reacted differently if the public perception of DeGeneres had been less focused on kindness, but O'Donnell is probably correct that whatever fans think of you, it's tough to be in such a position for so long.
Rosie O'Donnell also seemed to note that, when hosting a series like The Ellen Show, "it's hard to maintain" balance between that public perception and all of who you are as an individual, so it's fitting that the former daytime host just wants DeGeneres to be able to take some time for herself when her run as one of our talk show queens is officially over.
You can still watch Ellen DeGeneres every weekday, so check local listings, but if you need more to watch, look into all of the 2021 summer TV shows you can see in the coming weeks.