It looks like The Ellen DeGeneres show will not be able to weather the storm following a summer of controversy.
The series has been in the press for all the wrong reasons in recent months thanks to multiple former and current employees coming forward with allegations of a toxic workplace.
The reports included allegations of sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault.
Ultimately, three producers were fired from the series after an investigation was triggered by WarnerMedia.
With the promise of addressing the controversy on the recent season premiere, it seemed poised to be a ratings success on stations it is aired.
Unfortunately, the 2020 premiere was down 38% in total viewers vs. its 2019 premiere, according to USA Today.
As a whole, the series averaged 1.66 million viewers during its premiere week in September, which is down considerably from the first week average of last season, which had 2.67 million viewers.
While it's easy to blame the controversy surrounding the series for the ratings woes, we need to remember that other shows are down considerably in 2020.
The Wendy Williams Show is down 24% year-to-year, but Ellen was, of course, the worst affected, fueling the speculation that the controversy has weakened the show.
The numbers for Ellen represent major declines, and if the numbers continue to fade, it's likely the show could find itself in hot water.
DeGeneres addressed the allegations in her first monologue of the season, declaring she had a "great... super terrific" summer in a sarcastic tone to viewers.
"I learned that things happened here that never should have happened," DeGeneres said.
"I take that very seriously and I want to say I'm so sorry to the people that were affected."
"I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power and I realize that with that comes responsibility. I take responsibility for what happens at my show."
The host maintained that the new season marked the beginning of a "new chapter," for the show and for her.
She also had a response to the reports that she's not the woman people see on TV, saying "I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things."
Ahead of the return of the series, employees were offered better perks for working on the show.
But her opening monologue did not go down well with employees because they felt like she was making fun of the situation, according to reports.
Do you think the ratings have been permanently affected as a result of the controversy?
Hit the comments below.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.