The rumors are true: Ellen DeGeneres is out, and Kelly Clarkson is in. The Hollywood Reporter reported Wednesday that daytime newcomer Kelly Clarkson has officially been scheduled in Ellen’s timeslot on all NBC-owned stations after it leaves the air in 2022. As the outlet notes, this is a financial win for the media conglomerate, as the Kelly Clarkson Show is an NBCUniversal production, whereas Ellen was owned and operated by Warner Media.
Of the re-slotting, NBCUniversal Local president Valari Staab said in a statement:
“These are remarkable achievements for a talk show in its second season. We look forward to Ellen DeGeneres’ 19th season paired with Kelly Clarkson for what is sure to be a blockbuster year. By 2022, The Kelly Clarkson Show will be the star of our daytime entertainment schedules and an asset to our early afternoon newscasts.”
THR also notes that while NBC has moved its own production into the timeslot, other stations are considering slotting in low-cost daytime news programs instead of seeking another syndicated talk show. Famously, DeGeneres went to war with the WGAE amid the 2007 writer’s strike over that time slot, after she continued to produce the show even without writers to concoct an opening monologue for her. In a statement at the time, representatives claimed she would lose the slot if she stopped to support the strike, while the WGAE said she was no longer “welcome” in NYC as a result.
Needless to say, this timeslot is exceedingly valuable and incredibly rare. That NBCUniversal would fill it with Clarkson’s daytime program is a huge show of support for the fledgling host, who also judges on NBC’s The Voice.
DeGeneres’s future was thrown into chaos last summer, when a dozen staffers spoke with Buzzfeed News and other outlets alleging racism, sexism, and a toxic work environment at the mega daytime hit. In her comeback monologue, she laughed off criticism. Ratings soon plummeted, and when she announced her departure from the program earlier in May, she once again brushed off criticism, blaming the ordeal on homophobia and sexism and likening it to a “cancellation.” In subsequent interviews, DeGeneres entrenched herself in this flat-out refusal to admit wrongdoing on the show’s part, despite the fact that multiple top producers and executives had been dismissed following an internal investigation.
Best of luck to Clarkson, and goodbye Ellen. For good? Unclear, but the odds have looked better.