DeGeneres achieved success after the height of popularity of daytime television, led by cultural sensation Oprah Winfrey. But those days might be a thing of the past as viewing habits and the heart of streaming have changed, well, everything.
“[Ellen] One of the main stores in the mall is daytime television, Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, told CNN Business. “I think in many ways, it might be kind of the last in that era.”
That doesn’t mean “daytime television is going to go away”, Thompson added, because many shows are still getting big, but things aren’t what they used to be.
“It represents that generation when daytime television was still a broadcast television phenomenon,” he said.
So the question might not be “Who is the next Ellen?” Rather, “Could there be another Eileen?”
who is next?
The Kelly Clarkson Show was a huge hit when it debuted in 2019 and is still very popular. Her ratings came behind “Eileen” this season, with an average of 1.3 million viewers.
“Kelly Clarkson is doing really well,” Thompson said. “I think it might be what she calls the crown prince.”
Its rise makes sense. Clarkson created a lavish daytime talk show that blended interviews and Clarkson’s vocals, helping to spread the clips and court viewers.
So Clarkson and other newcomers Tamron Hall and Drew Barrymore — who average about 700,000 to 1 million viewers this season — have their work cut out for them if they want to make the impact — and money — that Ellen has made.
What complicates the succession plans for “Ellen” is that today’s viewers can watch anything, at any time, so it’s really hard to tell them apart.
However, Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein — co-chairs of Demar Mercury at Lionsgate, which distributes and produces group programming — told CNN Business that despite all the changes in the television industry, daytime still counts.
“Our daytime productions can still be profitable, despite having fewer viewers available across all television screens due to audience dispersal,” Bernstein said in an email. “Our primary buyers are TV stations, and it is imperative that they have solid daytime schedules leading to very profitable late afternoon newscasts.”
Echoing his colleague, Marcus said in an email that the future of daytime television “isn’t that simple” but that the key to making it profitable is “to collect eyeballs wherever they are – whether it’s broadcast, digital, YouTube, Facebook or other platforms.”
Obviously, finding the right person to lead the show.
“Most importantly, you need to find this rare diamond in the rough that daytime viewers want to see,” Marcus said.