The Ellen DeGeneres Show is gearing up for Season 18 and it’s safe to say the premiere will be unlike any other. In a press release about the show’s return on 21 September, Ellen DeGeneres said she will address the controversy surrounding her talk show.
“I can’t wait to get back to work and back to our studio. And, yes, we’re gonna talk about it,” DeGeneres said in a statement on Tuesday.
“It” would be allegations of the daytime show’s toxic culture.
DeGeneres’s namesake program has been the subject of troubling reports for months about intimidation, racial insensitivity and sexual misconduct in the workplace. The 62-year-old host has been accused of fostering the environment. While addressing over 200 employees, DeGeneres reportedly apologised and promised to be more hands-on moving forward. An internal investigation is underway and three senior staff members have been let go thus far. But DeGeneres promised staffers this will be the show’s best season yet.
On Tuesday, The Ellen DeGeneres Show announced actress Tiffany Haddish will join DeGeneres in-studio and help kick off the new season. Kerry Washington, Alec Baldwin and Chrissy Teigen will also appear during premiere week while Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Adam Sandler and Orlando Bloom will be guests later this month. The show will resume filming from the Ellen stage on the Warner Bros. lot without an in-studio audience.
“With unparalleled celebrity interviews, musical performances, topical stories, extraordinary human-interest guests, and sought-after viral sensations worldwide, DeGeneres will continue to deliver uplifting, inspiring, and hilarious experiences to viewers,” the release reads.
It was also announced Stephen “tWitch” Boss — who has been the show’s DJ since 2014 and was recently promoted to co-executive producer — will guest host episodes this fall. Boss, who is also featured on the spinoff Ellen’s Game of Games, has vocally supported DeGeneres throughout the scandal.
“We can’t speak too much legally about it, but I’ll say this, there’s been love,” the dancer told Us Weekly in August. “Obviously there’s some things to address, but from my standpoint and from countless others, there’s been love. I’ll just leave it at that until there’s a time where we can address more publicly. There’s been love and there’ll will continue to be love.”
Boss’s experience was different from his predecessor’s, Tony Okungbowa, who was the the resident DJ and on-air talent for several years.
“While I am grateful for the opportunity it afforded me, I did experience and feel the toxicity of the environment and I stand with my former colleagues in their quest to create a healthier and more inclusive workplace as the show moves forward,” DJ Tony wrote on Instagram.
DeGeneres has repeatedly apologised internally for being unaware of the alleged culture. She has yet to make an official public statement — but it seems that will change in two weeks.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show returns on Monday, 21 September.