The Ellen DeGeneres Show (often shortened to Ellen) is an American television comedy talk show hosted by comedienne/actress Ellen DeGeneres. Debuting on September 8, 2003, it is produced by Telepictures and airs in syndication, including stations owned by NBCUniversal. For its first five seasons, the show was taped in Studio 11 at NBC Studios in Burbank, California. It later moved to Stage 1 on the nearby Warner Bros. lot. Since the beginning of the sixth season, Ellen has been broadcast in high definition.
The show has won 59 Daytime Emmy Awards as of 2017, including four for Outstanding Talk Show and six for Outstanding Talk Show Entertainment, surpassing the record held by The Oprah Winfrey Show, which won nine. The show also won 17 People's Choice Award. The talk show's YouTube channel is currently charted as being in the top 20 most-subscribed YouTube channels. On January 20, 2016, it was announced that the show had been renewed for three additional seasons through 2020.
The program combines comedy, celebrity, musical guests, and human-interest stories. The program often features audience participation games where prizes are awarded. During her Twelve Days of Giveaways promotion, audience members receive roughly $1,000 worth of prizes on each of twelve episodes. Because the show has become so popular, not all who arrive hoping to see a taping can fit into the studio, so an offshoot space, dubbed by Tom Hanks "The Riff Raff Room", was created. Persons seated here are often referenced and shown briefly on camera but watch the taping from off-stage. Other non-celebrities have been featured in an attempt by DeGeneres to give them 15 minutes of fame. Guests in this role have included intelligent children, small business owners, etc. In the show's third season, DeGeneres began surprising fans by introducing them to their favorite celebrities.
Several recurring sounds, gags, and catchphrases are used by DeGeneres depending on the topic of discussion or theme for a specific episode. For example, after DeGeneres says the phrase, "Aww Snap!", a sound effect of a whip cracking often is played. In her monologue, DeGeneres frequently thanks the audience's applause by saying "I feel the same way about you!" Other video segments include DeGeneres scaring people, playing pranks, taking part in faux-breaking news segments, interacting with crew members, etc. Other recurring segments include those where DeGeneres comments on Internet videos, tabloid-style photographs of celebrities, advertisements on Craigslist, or voicemails left for her on an answering machine. Some segments feature audience members more prominently, including having audience members show hidden talents, pictures of others that resemble DeGeneres, interviewing children, etc.
DeGeneres frequently plays games with audience members and awards prizes based upon their performance. Games have included Pictionary-style drawing games, finding hidden objects within the studio, category, current event or pop-culture-based trivia, and various other stunt and charade-based games. DeGeneres also joked several times on the show about when a sequel to Finding Nemo, in which she famously had a lead role, will eventually release, as well as make references to the film. Eventually, the sequel, Finding Dory, was officially announced by DeGeneres.
Segments (including former and recurring)
The show has many recurring segments throughout the years. Some include:
- Oh Hair No! is a segment that involves fans sending in funny haircuts to DeGeneres; some of them appear on the show.
- Know or Go is a segment involving three audience members (or contestants) to answer questions based on topics such as Thanksgiving, current events, about Ellen herself, etc. If they get a question wrong, the contestant gets dropped through trap door.
- Clumsy Thumbsy is a segment where Ellen shows messed up auto corrects sent in by fans.
- Oh Puh-lice is a segment where odd police reports are shown.
- Ellen's Dance Dare is a segment where viewers send videos of themselves secretly dancing behind oblivious people. Irish jigs were featured on the 2012 St. Patrick's Day episode. Many celebrities have participated such as Emma Stone, Zac Efron, Lilly Singh, The Janoskians and Taylor Swift.
- Bad Paid for Tattoos Odd, usually incorrectly spelled body art is displayed.
- A Little Yelp From My Friends Ellen reads reviews from the website Yelp.
- "What's Wrong with These Photos?" Photos Silly photos sent in by viewers are featured.
- "What Were They Thinking?" Audience Dancing Audience members are shown dancing with voices acting out the dancers' thoughts.
- "What's Wrong with These Signs?" Signs Viewers send Ellen pictures of signs that aren't quite right.
- Tony Karaoke is a segment that features the show's DJ, Tony, singing often wrong-but-hilarious lyrics to popular songs.
- Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie is a segment in which Sophia Grace & Rosie interview celebrity guests on the show, all while enjoying cookies and tea.
- ApPARENTly Confused is a segment where Ellen shows messages by parents who don't understand texting and technology.
- In Your FACEbook is a segment where Ellen shares funny Facebook photos taken from the profile pages of audience members.
- Weekly Tweetly Roundup is a segment where Ellen shares funny and interesting tweets.
- Classic Joke Thursday is a segment where Ellen shares funny jokes/puns, usually in a conversation with the show's DJ.
- This Plus That is a segment where a montage of dancing audience members is shown usually combined with humorous sound effects.
- Just KID-ink is a segment where Ellen shares funny drawings from kids.
- INSTA-grammification is a segment where Ellen shares funny and unusual pictures from the show's Instagram page.
- "Vine After Vine" is a segment where Ellen shares funny 6 second video clips from the popular mobile app Vine.
- "Grand Design" an online segment where Ellen, with presenters and home makeover experts the "Kitchen Cousins" John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino would redesign a room in just 24 hours on a budget of $1,000 dollars.
- "What Have YOU Been Up to on Facebook?" is a recurring segment in which Ellen reveals some personal and private information of the public to the audience.
- "Starbucks Prank!" is a recurring segment in which Ellen send popular celebrities out to Starbucks to prank the cashiers.
- "What The Heck Are These Kids Talking About?" is a former segment in which Ellen reviews rap lyrics and tries to figure out what they mean.
- "Celebrity Pranks!" is a segment where Ellen often scares Taylor Swift (as she falls for it the most) and other famous celebrities.
- "Chat Time With Ellen!" is a talk-show segment in which Ellen talks about – or to – people who have made viral videos.
- Can Andy Say That? is a segment in which Ellen has the show's executive producer, Andy Lassner, repeat funny phrases that are filled with double entendres and sexual innuendo.
- Haunted House (the segment is actually untitled) is an annual segment in which Ellen sends her writer, Amy Rhodes, to various haunted houses in the days leading up to Halloween. In recent years, Amy has been joined in the haunted houses by her own mother, as well as the show's executive producer Andy Lassner. Celebrities like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift, Eric Stonestreet and DeGeneres's wife Portia de Rossi have also been sent to a haunted house.
- Average Andy is a segment where Ellen sends her executive producer Andy Lassner to learn new skills from the world's most talented people.
- Throwback Thursday is a segment where every Thursday Ellen revisits funny moments from previous seasons.
- "Who's In My Bushes?" is a segment where a celebrity is hidden in decorative bushes in which Ellen will ask questions to that celebrity and eventually comes out when figured. However, during this segment, Ellen already knows who the celebrity is and the audience will just play along.
- Take That, China! is a segment where Ellen makes jokes about impractical and often unwise American inventions.
- Breaking News is a segment where news anchor Devin Scillian interrupts the show and delivers unusually mundane, humorous breaking news.
- Why I Don't Have Kids is a segment where Ellen shows pictures or videos sent in by viewers of crazy situations they have encountered with their kids.
- Epic or Fail is a segment considered to be Ellen's favorite game where Ellen shows several stunts or tricks caught on tape, and when the videos are paused, Ellen, the audience, and even guest celebrities have to guess the ending's outcome.
- Hot Hands is a game where some audience member or celebrities get on a special seat and name the celebrities which are shown on the screen as much as possible in 30 seconds.
- 5 Second Rule is a game where Ellen and celebrity contestants have to think on their feet and list three answers that fall into a given category in only five seconds.
- Ellen In Your Ear is a segment where celebrity interact with unsuspecting people, where Ellen instructing the celebrities through remote ear piece.
Heads Up! is a game that DeGeneres plays with other celebrities. The game originally has players guess the word on the physical cards held to another player's head as time counts down. DeGeneres and Warner Bros. Entertainment developed an app version of this game. The game became a huge success after its May 2013 launch, and it immediately shot to the top of the App Store and was downloaded over 650,000 times in its first month. Totally,it has been download for more than 25 million times by July 2016. It remains among Apple's top-paid apps three years after launch.
Since the show's debut, DeGeneres has segued from her opening monologue by doing a dance. The dancing proved to be extremely popular with viewers, and has since progressed to a segment where DeGeneres dances into the audience, sometimes borrowing a coat or purse from someone's chair, and taking it with her. She has also featured a segment in which people teach her new dance moves.
One of her most famous dance moves is dancing over the table, where she straddles the coffee table and dances from one end to the other. Although she does not do it every day, dancing over the table is a recurring theme. As an April Fools' Day prank in 2009, the show's staff placed a wider table top over her normal table. During the show, when DeGeneres attempted to dance over it, she barely made it across, being forced on her tip-toes and using the table as leverage. On the seventh-season premiere, DeGeneres performed a dance segment with the cast of So You Think You Can Dance.
In September 2009, four major record labels sued the producers of the show for unspecified damages over the dance routine, for allegedly using songs without permission.
Sophia Grace and Rosie
Sophia Grace Brownlee (born April 18, 2003) and her cousin Rosie McClelland (born September 7, 2006) were first invited to the show after DeGeneres saw their YouTube video cover of "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj, which Sophia Grace and Rosie posted on YouTube on September 19, 2011. The then eight- and five-year-old Essex, England natives became recurring cast members on the show, where they hosted their own segment called "Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie". In the segment, the duo invites and interviews guest celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Hugh Grant, Julie Bowen, Harry Connick Jr., LL Cool J, Justin Bieber, and Reese Witherspoon over to tea. Sophia Grace and Rosie won the "Choice Webstar" at the 2012 Teen Choice Awards for this segment. They have also been correspondents during the red carpet events such as the Grammy Awards, the American Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards, and the MTV Video Music Awards. They appeared in the third episode (June 2013) and the eleventh episode (September 2013) of Sam & Cat. According to her representative, Sophia Grace had been cast as Little Red Riding Hood in Walt Disney Pictures' film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, but she withdrew before production. Sophia Grace & Rosie starred in their own movie called Sophia Grace and Rosie's Royal Adventure.
DeGeneres's mother, Betty, attends the show regularly and is frequently featured on camera.
From 2003 to early 2008, the program was originally taped at studio 11 at NBC Studios in Burbank, California. It is now filmed in studio 1 (named "The Ellen Stage" since her 2,000th show that took place in November, 2015) on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank.
The executive producers are DeGeneres, Mary Connelly, Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner and Jim Paratore. The writing staff has included Karen Kilgariff (former head writer), Karen Anderson, Margaret Smith and DeGeneres. Margaret Smith left the show to work on her own projects, including her first book, What Was I Thinking? How Being a Stand Up Did Nothing to Prepare Me to Become a Single Mother (Crossroad Publishing, 2008). Amy Rhodes, a former writer for the program, regularly appeared on camera during various segments.
Unlike most talk shows, the show uses a disc jockey to supply music rather than a band. Originally, the role was filled by Los Angeles-based DJ Scott K, who lasted only a few weeks. He was later replaced by Tony Okungbowa, who DJed through season 3. Due to his growing acting career, Okungbowa left the show, and a few guest DJs were brought in to try out for the position. Tony was replaced by actor/DJ Jon Abrahams for the fourth-season premiere. Abrahams stayed on the show for one season, and also left as his acting career grew. Ted Stryker of KROQ, was the DJ for the fifth season. Stryker stayed for one season until Okungbowa returned. In a recent episode, DJ Pauly D from Jersey Shore deejayed when Okungbowa was promoting his CD.
Starting in season 11, several episodes include celebrity "guest DJs" filling the DJ position in Okungbowa's absence. The most frequently appearing guest DJs are Stephen "tWitch" Boss of So You Think You Can Dance fame, and comedian Loni Love.
Okungbowa made a return appearance on the show in the April 28, 2014 episode, while Loni made a return in the June 5, 2015 episode.
2007 Writers Guild strike
DeGeneres, a member of the Writers Guild of America, supported the 2007 writers' strike. However, on November 9, 2007, DeGeneres crossed the picket line to tape more episodes of her TV show stating:
|“||It was explained to me that no other daytime shows have shut down. I've got 135 employees that rely on me for a paycheck. But it's been the hardest thing in the world driving onto this lot.||”|
DeGeneres decided to abstain from doing a monologue on her show (which is typically written by WGA writers) during the strike. Her show continued production as normal with the exception of her monologue being omitted. The WGAE issued a statement condemning DeGeneres, stating she was "not welcome in NY." DeGeneres's representatives asserted that she did not violate the WGA's agreement, arguing that she is competing with other first-run syndicated shows like Dr. Phil and Live with Regis and Kelly during the competitive November sweeps period, and that DeGeneres must fulfill her duties as host and producer, lest her show lose its time slot or be held in breach of contract. In addition, a statement defending DeGeneres was subsequently issued by AFTRA, pointing out that DeGeneres also works under the AFTRA TV Code, which bars her from striking. The WGAE then issued a response pointing out that DeGeneres is also a Writers Guild member, and that any writing work she did on her show during the strike constituted struck work.
Several episodes have aired with a special theme or format, including a "Backwards Show", entire episodes themed around Broadway productions, a Thanksgiving special taped in the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, and an entire episode which included Deltalina filmed on a Delta airplane. Other recurring themes feature products from sponsors DeGeneres likes (similar to Oprah's Favorite Things from the now ended The Oprah Winfrey Show), specials following awards show telecasts (such as the Academy Awards), and numerous milestone episodes (e.g., DeGeneres's 1,000th, 1300th, 1500th, etc. broadcast). In 2017, an episode aired commemorating the 20th anniversary of "The Puppy Episode", the episode of her sitcom Ellen, in which her character Ellen Morgan came out as a lesbian.
On January 11, 2013, DeGeneres announced that she was going to Australia in March with her wife, Australian actress Portia de Rossi, after having wanted to go for many years, however being unable to visit in summer (which she preferred) due to taping conflicts of her show. Toward the end of the episode, which featured Nicole Kidman as a guest, she announced to the audience that they will also be going on a holiday to Australia in a giveaway special.
On March 3, 2014, DeGeneres hosted the show live, one day after her being the host of the 86th Academy Awards. This episode features this year's Oscar winners Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong'o as guests.
On two occasions, DeGeneres was unable to host the show due to sickness. On January 24, 2014, guest DJ for that day Ellie Kemper filled in to be the first guest host on the show. On September 29, 2016, day four of the 7th Annual Cat Week, Miley Cyrus took over as host.
The show has been met with considerable success, and has won 59 Daytime Emmy Awards by 2017. Additionally, as the show's popularity has increased, the program has appeared in plot elements of storylines in several scripted television programs, including Joey, Six Feet Under and The Bernie Mac Show, among others.
The show averages around 2.9 million viewers per episode, according to daytime television ratings, making it a highly viewed daytime show. It usually only trails behind Live with Kelly, and Dr. Phil in total viewers. By 2017, the show passed Live with Kelly and only trails behind Dr. Phil.
The show has won a total of 59 Daytime Emmy Awards by 2017, including four for Outstanding Talk Show (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) and six for Outstanding Talk Show Entertainment (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017). The show first fourteen seasons surpassed the record held by The Oprah Winfrey Show,which received 47 Daytime Emmy Awards before Winfrey chose to stop submitting it for consideration in 2000. DeGeneres herself has won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host four times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008). The show has also won Emmys in numerous writing and technical categories. It won the Genesis Award for "Best Talk Show" in 2010 and 2012. DeGeneres has won the People's Choice Award for "Favorite Daytime TV Host" 14 times,making her the most awarded person in the People's Choice Awards's history.