Ellen DeGeneres Returns To Television with Discovery Channel Special on Gorilla Conservation

More than a year after her daytime show went off the air, Ellen DeGeneres is returning to television — in a much different capacity.

DeGeneres is bringing a passion project, showing her love for animals, to Discovery Channel with a two-hour documentary special, “Saving the Gorillas: Ellen’s Next Adventure.”

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The special will air on Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. on Discovery Channel, and then again on World Gorilla Day, Sept. 24 at 10 p.m., on Animal Planet. The documentary will also be streaming on discovery+ and Max.

The doc showcases DeGeneres’s passion for animals and her respect for the primatologist Dian Fossey as she works to build The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda. Since opening in 2022, the campus has helped with gorilla conservation and biodiversity in the area; it also hosts visitors, including local school children.

“Every single thing has led me to just have a big enough platform to say, ‘Look at work Dian Fossey did,’” DeGeneres says. “There’s nothing that keeps you more present, more in the moment, than sitting with gorillas.”

The journey began as a birthday gift from DeGeneres’s wife, Portia de Rossi, and turned into a far larger endeavor as they delved into architectural and landscaping plans to bring the campus to life. The documentary showcases the challenges that went along with this large-scale project, including earthquakes and COVID-19.

“We are so thrilled to partner with Ellen, Portia, and their team to bring this amazing Gorilla conservation journey to life on screen,” said Craig H. Shepherd, executive vice president at Zero Point Zero Production. “Their impact on conservation and the immediate community in Rwanda is an inspiration for all.”

This documentary marks DeGeneres’s return to television after her long running self-titled talk show came to an end in May 2022. In 2020, toward the end of its 22-season run, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” became mired in controversy with allegations of mistreatment and misconduct behind the scenes. “Saving the Gorillas” also marks a new genre for the talk show host, as she is primarily associated with comedy.

“Saving the Gorillas” is directed by Abigail Harper and executive produced by Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia, and Craig H. Shepherd for Zero Point Zero Production. Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman executive produced for A Very Good Production.

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