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Ellen DeGeneres on Thursday announced that she tested positive for COVID-19 and that production on her daytime talk show will temporarily shut down.
“Hi everyone, I wanted to let you know that I tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, I’m feeling fine right now,” DeGeneres wrote. “Anyone who has been in close contact with me has been notified, and I am following all proper CDC guidelines.”
The talk show host said she’ll return to TV after the holidays and encouraged her followers to “stay healthy and safe.” As of recently, her show has featured a small in-studio audience.
A Telepictures spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that "following Ellen’s announcement this morning, we have paused production on the Ellen DeGeneres Show until January.”
Representatives for Ellen and Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show shut down in March when the coronavirus pandemic brought television productions to a halt. DeGeneres returned to the studio in the fall, airing her first episode of the season on Sept. 21, when she addressed viewers about allegations of a toxic work environment.
On Wednesday, BuzzFeed News reported that a little more than two months after the workplace allegations that also included sexual harassment and misconduct, the show is losing advertisers, having difficulty booking A-list talent, and suffering a dip in ratings.
A current employee said the show and its digital content have fewer advertisers and sponsors compared to past years, a shift they said happened over the summer that isn't solely because of the pandemic. Another source who declined to be named also confirmed the situation.
“We’re trying to be a content house, but we have no content,” the employee said.
At The Ellen DeGeneres Show, December is usually one of the busiest and most successful times of the year because of the “12 Days of Giveaways” segment in which brands promote their products by gifting them to audience members. This season, the show is instead gifting to frontline workers, first responders, medical workers, and families impacted by COVID-19, but a current employee told BuzzFeed News that this year’s gifts aren’t on par with what it usually delivers.
“In a typical year, ‘12 Days of Giveaways’ is huge. We’ve basically claimed Christmas on daytime TV. When you think of Christmas on TV, you think of The Ellen Show,” a current employee said. “Everyone wants to be in the audience. Everyone wants the gifts. And so we line up all these crazy sponsors, and people love it. But this year, our ‘12 Days’ is more condensed. We don’t have as many sponsors.”
A source close to the show, however, told BuzzFeed News that the current "12 Days of Giving" segments reflect “the environment that we’re in” given the pandemic.
“[Ellen’s] not giving away these amazing trips, which were sort of the hallmark of '12 Days' over the past few years, sending audiences to amazing places. There are travel restrictions, and she’s giving gifts that are appropriate for the world right now,” the source said.