Ellen DeGeneres returned to the studio to tape the season 18 premiere of The Ellen Degeneres Show, which premiered Monday, and wasted no time addressing her and the show’s turbulent hiatus.
“If you’re watching because you love me, thank you,” she said as she kicked off the monologue, joking, “If you’re watching because you don’t love me, welcome.”
“How was everybody’s summer — good? Mine was great,” she continued.
Then she struck a more serious tone and said she’s “learned things that happened here that never should have happened.”
“I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected,” DeGeneres said.
“I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power and I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
She was referring, of course, to news reports in which current and former employees described the show’s behind-the-scenes culture as rife with problems, from fear and intimidation tactics to charges of racist behavior from high-level staff.
That led to three senior producers — Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and Jonathan Norman — being fired ahead of the season 18 premiere.
“We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace, and what we want for the future,” Ellen told her audience. “We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter.”
She also addressed accusations of a more personal nature, that her “always nice” image that the talk show has built up isn’t realistic. “Being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in,” she said, adding that while her on-screen image is authentic, she is “also a lot of other things.”
“Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient,” she said. “I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress.
“I’m especially working on the impatience thing because… and it’s not going well, because it’s not happening fast enough. I will tell you that. This is me and my intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that.”