After it was announced that TV host Ellen DeGeneres would end her show after 19 seasons, an award-winning producer who worked on “The Ellen Degeneres Show” the first year it aired in 2003, fired a barrage of criticisms at DeGeneres, including, “I feel that the viewers feel duped, in a way, that she’s not this nice person.” She stated, “She’s not, really, by the way, stepping down. The viewers fired her.”
On the Australian show “Sunrise,” host Natalie Barr asked two-time Emmy Award-winning producer Hedda Muskat whether she was shocked that DeGeneres had announced the show would be ending.
“No, not a shock at all,” Muskat replied. “The viewers have spoken. Her ratings have been in the toilet for a long, long time now, her show has not been fun, it has not been interesting, and she’s not, really, by the way, stepping down. The viewers fired her.”
Host David Koch asked, “Television can be all smoke and mirrors, can’t it? But all this controversy recently, has it given viewers an insight into the real Ellen and she’s sort of not as nice as everyone thinks?”
“Absolutely,” Muskat said. “However, I want to give the viewers more credit. I don’t think the show’s demise is because of the viewers’ loyalty to the employees, because let’s face it; as employees we endure hardship from the workplace all the time. I think the the viewers are disappointed in the phoniness she’s been projecting as this ‘nice person.’ So I feel that the viewers feel duped, in a way, that she’s not this nice person. The viewers are not going to put up with the backstage racism that goes on and the backstage bullying that goes on. So I think the viewers have woken up, finally.”
“Remind us what you went through,” Barr prompted.
“So for me, I was the first hire in 2003; I was brought on to book the human interest guests, not celebrities, people that were newsbreakers,” Muskat recalled. “And when I would go in to pitch Ellen who we have on the show today for our production meetings, she looked away; she showed no interest with any of the newsbreaking stories. She really showed a lot of ‘despise’ for a lot of my people that we were pitching to her, which is fine; it’s a pitch; I don’t care about that.”
“But we had to walk on eggshells with her because when we would be pitching, her snide remarks would be, ‘What am I going to talk to them about? I don’t know. I have nothing to say. I don’t know,’ Muskat continued. “So we would write the whole outline for her and then the guests would walk off feeling like crap. So it wasn’t good-will for the show.”
Muskat claimed, “However, she loved kissing a** with all the celebrities and she really was not in a position to interview the real people because she really couldn’t carry a conversation with them. So this is not like, ‘Bah, humbug! I’m buying in because I just did my job and went home.’ But I feel like for the guests, it was bad good-will for them; they were just not really able to connect with her. And as a host, look at Oprah; look at you guys; your guests, no matter how big or how unknown they are, they connect with you.”
Koch asked Muskat if DeGeneres’ coming interview with Oprah was going to be “more sugarcoating.
“I look forward to the interview, and frankly, I’m very disappointed that Oprah is lowering herself to interview Ellen,” Muskat answered. “Oprah can interview kings and queens and I watch and love Oprah and I miss Oprah and for her to interview Ellen, it’s like why? Who cares about Ellen anymore?”
Barr quoted DeGeneres saying she doesn’t see her show as a challenge anymore, asking, “What do you think will happen to her now?” That prompted Muskat to trigger the hosts into laughter as she responded, “I’d like to see her work on a farm where she can relate with all of the animals, and the pets and the dogs and the cows and the pigs, because she can relate to animals far more than she does with people.”
Muskat concluded, “I was not able to have any connection with her, make any eye contact; and here’s the thing: It’s not just me, or three of us; there were over a hundred employees over the 19 years that walk away with with a sickened feeling about working there. As much as I loved my job as a booker and producer, I was almost relieved when I got fired. I wanted to take a shower; it was like a whole new dawn. So I don’t feel like she has the trust anymore of the viewers, and so I don’t think she is going to come back anytime soon.’
Author : Hank Berrien