'Ellen's Game of Games' Axed

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday January 20, 2022

"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" is headed for the exit, ending this year after 19 seasons. And now, "Ellen's Game of Games" has gotten the axe, Variety reported.

The show — which Variety noted "included supersized versions of some of the most popular games from 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'" — aired on NBC for four seasons, but it won't be back for a fifth.

"The series also features Stephen 'tWitch' Boss who, with DeGeneres, oversaw the contestants playing different games over four rounds," Variety said. "The winner of each round advanced to the 'Know or Go' stage, and the winner of that round proceeded to 'Hot Hands' for a chance to win a $100,000 cash prize."

Deadline relayed that the show's "family friendly format had previously been a strong performer for the network — tying for fourth among all primetime entertainment programs on broadcast with kids and ranking as primetime's number one game show in 2019."

"However, last year, the show lost a sizable portion of its audience," Deadline added.

Variety recounted how DeGeneres' talk show also gave rise to several other programs, including "The Masked Dancer," "Family Game Fight," and "Ellen's Greatest Night of Giveaways," but likewise noted that the audience had dwindled, "partly because of her soured reputation after allegations of fostering a toxic workplace including racist behavior, intimidation, poor treatment and pay reduction."

Another factor in Ellen's long run ending at NBC, however, is that Ellen's contract with the network is set to expire this year, Variety pointed out.

But Ellen is not disappearing entirely from television; last fall, news broke of an animated project for the younger set titled "Little Ellen," which, the Associated Press reported, "follows the adventures of a 7-year-old, risk-taking Ellen DeGeneres in her native New Orleans."

"The stated goal, aka the vegetable part of the meal: Help children learn to manage their emotions and be resilient and optimistic," the AP article said.

"Little Ellen" is slated to be part of the "Cartoonito" block of animated programming at HBO Max.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.