The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Also known asEllen
Created byEllen DeGeneres
Presented byEllen DeGeneres
Opening theme
  • "Ellen" by Sharlotte Gibson (season 1)
  • "Ellen" (Remix) by Sharlotte Gibson (seasons 2–3)
  • "Have a Little Fun Today" by Sharlotte Gibson (seasons 4–12)
  • "Today's the Day" by Pink (seasons 13–19)[1]
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons19
No. of episodes3,294 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Ellen DeGeneres
  • Stephen "tWitch" Boss (2020–2022)
  • Andy Lassner (2003–2022)
  • Mary Connelly (2006–2022)
  • Derek Westervelt (2006–2022)
  • Kevin A. Leman II (2003–2020)
  • Ed Glavin (2006–2020)
  • Jim Paratore (2003–2012)
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30–60 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 8, 2003 (2003-09-08) –
May 26, 2022 (2022-05-26) (special new guest host and clip episodes until June 17, 2022)
The Ellen Show
Ellen's Design Challenge
Ellen's Game of Games
Family Game Fight!

The Ellen DeGeneres Show (stylized as ellen; often shortened to Ellen or The Ellen Show) is an American daytime television variety comedy talk show. Created and hosted by its namesake Ellen DeGeneres, it aired for 19 seasons from September 8, 2003, to May 26, 2022, in syndication and was produced by Telepictures. The majority of stations owned by NBC Owned Television Stations, along with Hearst Television and Tegna, served as the program's largest affiliate base.[2] For its first five seasons, the show was taped in Studio 11 at NBC Studios in Burbank, California. From season 6 onwards, the show moved to being taped at Stage 1 on the nearby Warner Bros. lot.[3] Since the beginning of the sixth season, The Ellen DeGeneres Show was broadcast in high definition.

The show received 171 Daytime Emmy Award nominations and won 63 Daytime Emmy Awards as of 2022, including four for Outstanding Talk Show and seven for Outstanding Talk Show Entertainment, making 11 total awards and surpassing the record held by The Oprah Winfrey Show, which won nine as Outstanding Talk Show before it was divided into two categories (Informative and Entertainment) in 2008. The show also won 17 People's Choice Awards. On May 21, 2019, DeGeneres announced she had signed for three more years, renewing the show through 2022.[4][5][6][7] The eighteenth season premiered on September 21, 2020.[8] On May 12, 2021, DeGeneres announced that the nineteenth season would be her last,[9] which premiered on September 13, 2021.[10]

The final episode aired on May 26, 2022, as previously announced on March 17, 2022.[11][12][13] New episodes with guest hosts, clip shows hosted by DeGeneres and more, and repeats aired on stations across the United States until September 9, after which most stations (including NBC O&O) began occupying the show's time slot with new newscasts or syndication programs such as The Kelly Clarkson Show.


The program combines comedy, celebrity, musical guests, and human-interest stories. The program often features audience participation games where prizes are awarded. During her Twelve Days of Giveaways promotion, audience members receive roughly $3,000 worth of prizes on each of twelve episodes. Because the show has become so popular, not all who arrive hoping to see a taping can fit into the studio, so an offshoot space, dubbed by Tom Hanks "The Riff Raff Room", was created. People seated here are often referenced and shown briefly on camera but watch the taping from off-stage. Other non-celebrities have been featured in an attempt by DeGeneres to give them 15 minutes of fame. Guests in this role have included intelligent children and small business owners. In the show's third season, DeGeneres began surprising fans by introducing them to their favorite celebrities.

Recurring elements

Ellen DeGeneres in 2004

Several recurring sounds, gags, and catchphrases are used by DeGeneres depending on the topic of discussion or theme for a specific episode. For example, after DeGeneres says the phrase, "Aww Snap!", a sound effect of a whip cracking often is played. In her monologue, DeGeneres frequently thanks the audience's applause by saying "I feel the same way about you!" Other video segments include DeGeneres scaring people, playing pranks, taking part in faux-breaking news segments and interacting with crew members. Other recurring segments include those where DeGeneres comments on Internet videos, tabloid-style photographs of celebrities, advertisements on Craigslist, or voicemails left for her on an answering machine. Some segments feature audience members more prominently, including having audience members show hidden talents, pictures of others that resemble DeGeneres, and interviewing children.

DeGeneres frequently plays games with audience members and awards prizes based upon their performance. Games have included Pictionary-style drawing games, finding hidden objects within the studio, category, current event or pop-culture-based trivia, and various other stunt and charade-based games. DeGeneres also joked several times on the show about when a sequel to Finding Nemo, in which she famously had a lead role, would eventually release, as well as make references to the film. Eventually, the sequel, Finding Dory, was officially announced by DeGeneres.

Segments (including former and recurring)

The show has many recurring segments throughout the years. Some include:

Heads Up!

Heads Up! is a game that DeGeneres plays with other celebrities. Originally, the game had players guess words or phrases on physical cards held to their foreheads by watching the other players act it out or give hints as time counted down. Later, DeGeneres and Warner Bros. Entertainment developed an app version of the game. The app became a huge success after its May 2013 launch, rising to the top of the App Store with over 650,000 downloads during its first month. By July 2016, it had been downloaded more than 25 million times and remained one of Apple's top-paid apps.[18]


Michelle Obama and Ellen dance on the second anniversary of Let's Move!.

Since the show's debut, DeGeneres has segued from her opening monologue by doing a dance. The dancing proved to be extremely popular with viewers, and has since progressed to a segment where DeGeneres dances into the audience, sometimes borrowing a coat or purse from someone's chair, and taking it with her. She has also featured a segment in which people teach her new dance moves.

One of her most famous dance moves is dancing over the table, where she straddles the coffee table and dances from one end to the other. Although she does not do it every day, dancing over the table is a recurring theme. As an April Fools' Day prank in 2009, the show's staff placed a wider table top over her normal table. During the show, when DeGeneres attempted to dance over it, she barely made it across, being forced on her tip-toes and using the table as leverage. On the seventh-season premiere, DeGeneres performed a dance segment with the cast of So You Think You Can Dance.

In September 2009, four major record labels sued the producers of the show for unspecified damages over the dance routine, for allegedly using songs without permission.[19]

In 2018, The New York Times profiled DeGeneres as she faced decisions of renewing her talkshow contract, and exploring other outlets for her creativity including her Netflix comedy special Relatable (2018), which spoofs her kind image.[20] They noted that she felt boxed in with a reputation of always being nice, and the host who danced all time.[20] DeGeneres—who acknowledges she has always been over-sensitive—fretted how her audience would react when she no longer wanted to dance.[20] Her Christian Scientist upbringing included her father's psyche, “He was a very fearful man, he couldn't hear or engage with anything unpleasant.”[20]

Sophia Grace and Rosie

Main article: Sophia Grace & Rosie

Sophia Grace Brownlee (born April 18, 2003[21]) and her cousin Rosie McClelland (born September 7, 2006[22]) were first invited to the show after DeGeneres saw their YouTube video cover of "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj, which Sophia Grace and Rosie posted on YouTube on September 19, 2011.[23] The then eight- and five-year-old Essex, England natives became recurring cast members on the show, where they hosted their own segment called "Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie". In the segment, the duo invites and interviews guest celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Hugh Grant, Julie Bowen, Harry Connick Jr., LL Cool J, Justin Bieber, and Reese Witherspoon over to tea. Sophia Grace and Rosie won the "Choice Webstar" at the 2012 Teen Choice Awards for this segment. They have also been correspondents during the red carpet events such as the Grammy Awards, the American Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards, and the MTV Video Music Awards. They appeared in the third episode (June 2013) and the eleventh episode (September 2013) of Sam & Cat. According to her representative, Sophia Grace had been cast as Little Red Riding Hood in Walt Disney Pictures' film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, but she withdrew before production.[24] Sophia Grace and Rosie starred in their own movie called Sophia Grace and Rosie's Royal Adventure.

Production information

Taping location

From 2003 to early 2008, the program was originally taped in Studio 11 at NBC Studios in Burbank, California. It was then filmed in Studio 1 (named "The Ellen Stage" since her 2,000th show, which took place in November 2015) on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank.


The executive producers were DeGeneres, Mary Connelly, Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner, and (until his death in 2012) Jim Paratore. The writing staff has included Karen Kilgariff (former head writer), Karen Anderson, Margaret Smith, and DeGeneres. Margaret Smith left the show to work on her own projects, including her first book, What Was I Thinking? How Being a Stand Up Did Nothing to Prepare Me to Become a Single Mother (Crossroad Publishing, 2008). Amy Rhodes, a former writer for the program, regularly appeared on camera during various segments.


Unlike most talk shows, the show used a disc jockey to supply music rather than a band. Originally, the role was filled by Los Angeles-based DJ Scott K, who lasted only a few weeks. He was later replaced by Tony Okungbowa, who DJed through season 3. Due to his growing acting career, Okungbowa left the show, and a few guest DJs were brought in to try out for the position. Tony was replaced by actor/DJ Jon Abrahams for the fourth-season premiere. Abrahams stayed on the show for one season, and also left as his acting career grew. Ted Stryker of KROQ, was the DJ for the fifth season. Stryker stayed for one season until Okungbowa returned. In a 2012 episode, DJ Pauly D from Jersey Shore deejayed when Okungbowa was promoting his CD.

Starting in season 11, several episodes include celebrity "guest DJs" filling the DJ position in Okungbowa's absence. Stephen "tWitch" Boss of So You Think You Can Dance fame had been Ellen's permanent DJ for several years. After the series completed in 2022, Stephen "tWitch" Boss died on December 13, 2022.

Okungbowa made a return appearance on the show in the April 28, 2014, episode, while Loni made a return in the June 5, 2015, episode.[citation needed]

2007 Writers Guild strike

DeGeneres, a member of the Writers Guild of America, supported the 2007 writers' strike.[25] However, on November 9, 2007, DeGeneres crossed the picket line to tape more episodes of her TV show stating:

It was explained to me that no other daytime shows have shut down. I've got 135 employees that rely on me for a paycheck. But it's been the hardest thing in the world driving onto this lot.[25]

DeGeneres decided to abstain from doing a monologue on her show (which is typically written by WGA writers) during the strike.[26] Her show continued production as normal with the exception of her monologue being omitted. The WGAE issued a statement condemning DeGeneres, stating she was "not welcome in NY."[27] DeGeneres's representatives asserted that she did not violate the WGA's agreement, arguing that she is competing with other first-run syndicated shows like Dr. Phil and Live with Regis and Kelly during the competitive November sweeps period, and that DeGeneres must fulfill her duties as host and producer, lest her show lose its time slot or be held in breach of contract. In addition, a statement defending DeGeneres was subsequently issued by AFTRA, pointing out that DeGeneres also works under the AFTRA TV Code, which bars her from striking. The WGAE then issued a response pointing out that DeGeneres is also a Writers Guild member, and that any writing work she did on her show during the strike constituted struck work.[28][29]

COVID-19 pandemic

On March 11, 2020, DeGeneres announced via Twitter that for now she would be shooting her show without a studio audience to protect the health and safety of the fans, staff, and crew.[30] In a tweet dated March 13, 2020, DeGeneres announced that production of the show had been suspended until March 30, 2020, to protect the health of her audience and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.[31] Starting on April 6, 2020, the show was produced from her own home.[32][33]

On April 16, 2020, Variety reported that crew members had accused the show of not communicating about their pay during the pandemic-induced shutdown.[34]

For the 18th-season premiere, DeGeneres returned to the studio with a virtual audience, and a 6-foot table between DeGeneres and her guests.

For the 19th-season premiere, the live audience returned wearing masks. By the end of the season, masks were optional.

Controversy over work culture

In 2018, The New York Times profiled DeGeneres as she faced decisions of renewing her talk show contract, and exploring other outlets for her creativity including her Netflix comedy special Relatable (2018), which spoofed her public image.[20] When asked about anonymous tabloid reports that she is not always nice to her workers, she said the accusations were false, saying "The one thing I want is for everyone to be happy and proud of where they work, and if not, don't work here."[20]

In July 2020, BuzzFeed News ran articles in which anonymous former employees accused the show of being a toxic workplace, accused the executive producers of harassment, as well as alleging an atmosphere with racist comments and microaggressions.[35][36] WarnerMedia began an investigation.[37] DeGeneres apologized to her staff, writing that "she intended for her show to be a place where 'no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect' and that she was 'disappointed to learn that this has not been the case.'"[38][39] Following the investigation, three executives were fired, executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman.[40] The show vowed to take steps to change the culture; DeGeneres apologized again during the eighteenth season's September 2020 opening.[41] Her DJ, Stephen "tWitch" Boss, was promoted to co-executive producer and has served as host of the show filling in for her.


On May 12, 2021, shortly after the controversy, DeGeneres confirmed that the show would conclude at the end of the 2021–22 season, the show's nineteenth, coinciding with the end of her current contract.[9] Warner Bros. was not initially expected to offer a direct replacement program, and lead carrier NBC Owned Television Stations announced it would move The Kelly Clarkson Show, which is produced by sister company NBCUniversal Syndication Studios, into the Ellen timeslot on its stations.[42] Other stations will make individual decisions about replacement programming, which may include additional local newscasts; a few stations indicated interest in the possibility of a show hosted by frequent Ellen fill-in host Tiffany Haddish, but no such program was ever announced.[43]

On March 17, 2022, Warner Bros. announced that the final original episode hosted by DeGeneres would air on May 26; the final episode was recorded on April 28.[44][45] The studio added that new episodes with guest hosts would air, alongside repeats and compilations, through September 9.[44]

In November 2021, Deadline reported that Warner Bros. was in discussions with local station groups about a potential new daytime talk show hosted by Jennifer Hudson that could debut as soon as fall 2022, which the studio foresees as a "successor" to Ellen, notwithstanding the prior announcement by the NBC-owned stations.[46] WB subsequently announced The Jennifer Hudson Show would debut in fall 2022, with Fox Television Stations and Hearst Television as its lead carriers.[47]

The show's final episode, which featured appearances by Jennifer Aniston, Billie Eilish and Pink, aired as scheduled on May 26, 2022.[48]


During the course of the series, 3,294 episodes of The Ellen DeGeneres Show aired over nineteen seasons, between September 8, 2003, and May 26, 2022.

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1166September 8, 2003 (2003-09-08)May 28, 2004 (2004-05-28)
2180September 6, 2004 (2004-09-06)June 10, 2005 (2005-06-10)
3170September 5, 2005 (2005-09-05)June 2, 2006 (2006-06-02)
4171September 4, 2006 (2006-09-04)May 30, 2007 (2007-05-30)
5150September 4, 2007 (2007-09-04)May 1, 2008 (2008-05-01)
6172September 8, 2008 (2008-09-08)June 5, 2009 (2009-06-05)
7173September 7, 2009 (2009-09-07)May 28, 2010 (2010-05-28)
8171September 13, 2010 (2010-09-13)June 1, 2011 (2011-06-01)
9171September 12, 2011 (2011-09-12)May 30, 2012 (2012-05-30)
10168 + 2 sp.September 10, 2012 (2012-09-10)June 13, 2013 (2013-06-13)
11168 + 2 sp.September 9, 2013 (2013-09-09)June 3, 2014 (2014-06-03)
12170 + 4 sp.September 8, 2014 (2014-09-08)June 12, 2015 (2015-06-12)
13177September 8, 2015 (2015-09-08)June 17, 2016 (2016-06-17)
14171 + 3 sp.September 6, 2016 (2016-09-06)June 9, 2017 (2017-06-09)
15177 + 8 sp.September 5, 2017 (2017-09-05)August 31, 2018 (2018-08-31)
16189September 4, 2018 (2018-09-04)June 28, 2019 (2019-06-28)
17188September 6, 2019 (2019-09-06)July 9, 2020 (2020-07-09)
18185September 21, 2020 (2020-09-21)July 9, 2021 (2021-07-09)
19180September 13, 2021 (2021-09-13)May 26, 2022 (2022-05-26)

Special episodes

Several episodes have aired with a special theme or format, including a "Backwards Show", entire episodes themed around Broadway productions, a Thanksgiving special taped in the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, an entire episode which included Deltalina filmed on a Delta airplane, her 12 Days of Giveaways shows and Ellen's Birthday Show. Other recurring themes feature products from sponsors DeGeneres likes (similar to Oprah's Favorite Things from the now ended The Oprah Winfrey Show), specials following awards show telecasts (such as the Academy Awards), and numerous milestone episodes (e.g., DeGeneres's 1,000th, 1,300th, 1,500th, etc. broadcasts). In 2017, an episode aired commemorating the 20th anniversary of "The Puppy Episode," the episode of her sitcom Ellen, in which her character Ellen Morgan came out as a lesbian.

The episode titled "Sirdeaner Walker Interview" was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding Talk Show Episode" during the 21st GLAAD Media Awards.[49]

On January 11, 2013, DeGeneres announced that she was going to Australia in March with her wife, Australian actress Portia de Rossi, after having wanted to go for many years, being unable to visit in summer (which she preferred) due to taping conflicts of her show.[50] Toward the end of the episode, which featured Nicole Kidman as a guest, she announced to the audience that they will also be going on a holiday to Australia in a giveaway special.

On March 3, 2014, DeGeneres hosted the show live, one day after her being the host of the 86th Academy Awards. This episode features that year's Oscar winners Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto, and Lupita Nyong'o as guests.

Guest hosts

From time to time a guest host filled in for DeGeneres. This was previously quite rare, but gradually became more common, especially in the final seasons, and was considered a regular part of the show.

Guest co-hosts

DeGeneres has also occasionally co-hosted the show with guest co-hosts, which have included:

International broadcast

At its peak, the show was internationally syndicated to more than 18 channels across 15 countries. The show currently still airs on ITV2 in Great Britain, RTÉ in Ireland, SIC Caras in Portugal, and on OSN Comedy in the Middle East.

Home media

A best-of DVD titled The Ellen DeGeneres Show: DVD-Licious was released in 2006, featuring early footage from the first few seasons.[81]

Social media

The show is active on a number of social media platforms, including Twitter, where DeGeneres has over 70 million followers, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and more. The talk show's YouTube channel is in the top 50 most-subscribed YouTube channels.

As of December 31, 2022, the talk show's YouTube channel has 38.3 million subscribers and about 23 billion total views.[82]

On January 1, 2023, all of DeGeneres' social media platform handles were changed from @TheEllenShow to @EllenDeGeneres. The YouTube channel still remains as "TheEllenShow".[83]


The show was met with considerable success, and won 63 Daytime Emmy Awards by 2022. Additionally, as the show's popularity increased, the program appeared as a plot element in the storylines of several scripted television programs, including Joey, Six Feet Under, and The Bernie Mac Show.


The show averaged around 4.2+ million daily viewers per episode, according to syndicated daytime television ratings, making it a highly viewed daytime show.[84] It usually only trails behind Live with Kelly and Ryan, and Dr. Phil in total viewers. In 2017, the show passed Live with Kelly and Ryan for the first time and trailed behind Dr. Phil.[85] Following the toxic workplace allegations, the show saw a decline in viewership with a drop of up to over a million viewers in ratings.[86]


The show has won a total of 63 Daytime Emmy Awards by 2022, including four for Outstanding Talk Show (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) and seven for Outstanding Talk Show Entertainment (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020). The show's first fourteen seasons surpassed the record held by The Oprah Winfrey Show, which received 47 Daytime Emmy Awards before Winfrey chose to stop submitting it for consideration in 2000. DeGeneres herself has won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host four times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008). The show has also won 48 Daytime Emmys in Writing (10 total), Directing (6 total), and Technical Categories (32 total). It won the Genesis Award for "Best Talk Show" in 2010 and 2012. DeGeneres has won the People's Choice Award for "Favorite Daytime TV Host" 15 times, making her the most awarded person in the People's Choice Awards's history.[87]

At the 2018 Webby Awards, Heads Up! A Party Game from Ellen!, a video game for iOS and Android, won the People's Voice Award for "Word & Trivia".[88]


Ellen's Game of Games

Main article: Ellen's Game of Games

In 2017, NBC premiered Ellen's Game of Games, a primetime game show built around the audience game segments from the show.[89]

Ellen's Greatest Night of Giveaways

In December 2019, NBC aired a three-night event series spun off from the "12 Days of Giveaways", Ellen's Greatest Night of Giveaways, which featured DeGeneres collaborating with notable celebrities and public figures to "deliver incredible gifts to unsuspecting people".[90][91]

The Masked Dancer

Main article: The Masked Dancer (American TV series)

After it was performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as a spoof of The Masked Singer, Fox's head of alternative entertainment Rob Wade contacted the show's producers about the possibility of working on The Masked Dancer as a full spin-off series. DeGeneres would be named executive producer of the series as well; Wade stated that although they did not necessarily need her for the series, he felt that DeGeneres was "passionate about it" and had good "access to celebrities".[92][93][94]

Family Game Fight!

Main article: Family Game Fight!

In March 2021, NBC announced a spin-off game show titled Family Game Fight!, with Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard as hosts and a 10-episode run has been ordered.[95] In May 2021, it was announced that the series would premiere on August 11, 2021.[96] In July 2021, it was announced that the series would premiere on August 8, 2021, after its primetime airing of the 2020 Summer Olympics closing ceremony replacing Ultimate Slip 'N Slide.[97]


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