Last night’s “Ellen’s Game of Games,” hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, scored 1.6 million viewers.
When the season began last October, “Game of Games” started with 3.2 million. At one point early in the season, it was on upswing at 3.3 million and change.
But something happened with the March 7th installment. The show dropped 47% to 1.5 million. It’s as if it just went off a cliff, for no particular reason, and it’s never recovered.
I’ve written about the daytime talk show losing viewers this year, and the New York Times echoed that on March 22nd. “The Ellen Show” has lost over a million viewers in the last year since a scandal ripped through the production over backstage squabbles. Producers were fired. There was speculation that celebrities wouldn’t come, but most of them have kept showing up and supporting DeGeneres despite an avalanche of bad publicity.
But the prime time number may really be indicating what’s going on. When half of your audience just gets up and goes, that’s a problem. Of course, “Game of Games” has competition at 8pm on Sunday from “American Idol” and Queen Latifah in “The Equalizer.” But it was light counter-programming, and depended on DeGeneres’s fans tuning in. Surprisingly, they have started tuning out in droves.
With a rating under 2 million, “Game of Games” may get the axe soon and not return next season. Warner Bros. Telepictures has to concentrate on the daytime show, and start looking for successors. That is not easy to do. Syndicated talk show hits are hard to come by. Kelly Clarkson is just finding her footing right now. Drew Barrymore only got a second season renewal because the show is produced by CBS. Establishing a new Ellen for Telepictures is a challenge.