Ever since Ellen DeGeneres announced that she’s pulling the plug on her talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which is in its 19th season, NBC executives have been scrambling to figure out who will take over DeGeneres’s coveted time slot. Could it be Kelly Clarkson?
Now TMZ is reporting that singer Clarkson, host of “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” is the heir apparent. But there are some roadblocks to Clarkson taking over DeGeneres’s spot.
For one thing, Clarkson’s ratings dropped during the pandemic. She was not alone in that regard, however. For another, COVID-19 restrictions made production a challenge, with guests calling in remotely and no studio audience, and that eroded overall quality.
Executives will reportedly be looking to see whether her show comes roaring back over the next few months as Clarkson’s crew resumes normal production practices.
DeGeneres Made The Announcement After Months Of Bad Press
DeGeneres has been through troubles that “The Kelly Clarkson Show” has not. Ellen DeGeneres announced that she would be stepping down from her talk show following allegations of a “toxic” work environment on the show. Last year, former staffers came forward alleging a range of abuses. Those included firing workers for taking medical leave or attending funerals as well as intimidation and discrimination. Three executive producers wound up leaving the show after an internal review. And DeGeneres issued a public apology last autumn.
But the months of bad press took a toll on DeGeneres, she said in a recent “Today” show interview. She said she hadn’t been sleeping. The controversy had “destroyed” her, she added.
“I felt like somebody had some kind of, you know? I mean, I really didn’t understand it, I still don’t understand it,” DeGeneres told the “Today” show. “Yeah, I thought I thought something was going on that that, because it was too orchestrated. It was too coordinated.”
“And, you know, people get picked on but for four months straight for me…” she continued. “And then for me to read in the press about a toxic work environment, when, when all I’ve ever heard from every guest that comes on the show is what a happy atmosphere this is, and how, what a happy place it is.”
Still, DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter that as a creative person, she needs to be constantly challenged. And she admitted she had been coasting a bit on her show lately.
“It’s just not a challenge anymore,” DeGeneres said.
Kelly Clarkson Remains Cheerful Despite Rough Year
For her part, Clarkson has been juggling a lot, between “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and her disintegrating marriage. The talk show host is in the midst of a messy divorce from husband Brandon Blackstock, who has fought her over custody of their children and over how much she should pay to support his lifestyle.
Blackstock reportedly wanted their two children, River Rose and Remington Alexander, to stay with him at their Montana ranch, even though the kids have grown up in Los Angeles. A judge sided with the “Kelly Clarkson Show” host, giving her primary custody but allowing Blackstock to see his kids every other weekend.
Meanwhile, Clarkson has accused Blackstock of defrauding her by charging high fees as her personal manager. She pointed out that Blackstock was never licensed to operate as a talent agent in the state of California.
Despite what she’s going through in her personal life, Clarkson has remained characteristically cheery on her show. And if she can survive that crucible, she’s probably cut out to follow in DeGeneres’s footsteps.