Everyone is familiar with Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. Well, you will be shocked to know that the team is on the verge of some big problems to come!
Ellen, we have a problem!
The COVID-19 has brought more problems for the crew members of Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. Therefore, they are distressed and outraged regarding their treatment from the producers—the talk show has over 30 employees. The most confusing part of the whole story is that they haven’t received any written confirmation from the producers. Also, there is an evident absence of written communication between the employees and leaders. Therefore, they are on the verge of massive criticism from the fans and critics.
A reduction in wages and more problems
Although the production executives finally weighed in, they reported the crew members to brace for a 60% reduction in pay. The most surprising part is that the show continues to air. Altogether, these situations are going to hamper the show’s image. Presently, only four core members are working on the remote version of the broadcast. According to a spokesperson for Warner Bros., the executive producers and Telepictures are committed to taking care of the staff. However, the spokesperson explained the reason behind the reduction in the wages of the crew. He stated that the team had been paid consistently, tough at reduced hours.
Crew members left in the dark!
It is quite surprising to see that the crew members were left confused regarding their salaries. The phone calls to the crew members from a production coordinator at Telepictures, the Warner Bros. unit that produces were sporadic. Adding on to that, they never informed the crew regarding their workload and pay-scale before and after the 14-day blackout. Therefore, there was an apparent lack of transparency among the crew members as DeGeneres expanded her output from hosting four shows a week to five.
Acceptance of the faults
However, on the bright side, a Warner Bros. spokesperson acknowledged that communications were not practical due to the chaos of COVID-19. A majority of the crew members were shocked to realize that DeGeneres had a remote set erected at her residence where she was taping. They came to know about it via social media.
The drama and the dispute
The studio episodes of the show were last shot on March 9th. Therefore, the crew was last paid on March 16th. A spokesperson said that while returning from the break, the team was spent on the week of March 30th. Although having no firms of production, according to the spokesman, the crew was paid their account of share. As of April 10th, the team was informed about reduced compensation for their wages. With adding salt to the injury, some sources said that while the most crew was left out of work with reduced pay, the remote production has hired Key Code Media. Key Code Media is a Burbank-based audiovisual house. Each of the show’s crew is affiliated with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union.
IATSE in the frame and reason for changes
A local IATSE representative spoke with the producers of the show. The representative talked about the crew’s concerns. He stated that union members would be paid. Although an IATSE spokesperson did not comment on the matter, the studio said that third party hire was cleared with the union representatives.
According to a WB spokesperson, the changes were made following the social distancing, measures adding that no crew member has lost the job. Ellen cleared the air by stating that she wanted to continue her new show as soon as possible. Therefore, she had to apply some changes. She acknowledged her crew members and said that she loved them. It is quite upsetting for many crew members because of a lack of personal outreach for the leaders. Although many of them have been associated with DeGeneres since the beginning of the show, 17 years ago, some are still unhappy with the leadership role. Also, it has been observed that the crew operates separately form DeGeneres’ senior producers and assistants, who occupy her offices on the Burbank Warner lot.
News about other shows
The crew sought information from colleagues on similar shows, who had a different experience from theirs. The crew members of Jimmy Kimmel Live were paid from the host’s pocket during the initial shutdowns. Also, crew members of various shows like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Desus and Mero had a transparent communication with the leaders of the crew. Although the spokesperson from these show declined to comment on the matter, it is quite evident regarding which system is more transparent.
An explanation from WB
According to WB, the show comes under a different category on TV in terms of a daytime franchise in first-run syndication. Therefore, it is sold by Warner Bros. to TV stations on a market-by-market basis. WB explained that the economics, hours, and delivery are entirely different for a talk show. Therefore, according to them, the situations are different.
Have a look at this video from her show: