Ellen DeGeneres is back...
... and better than ever?
We may now have our answer.
The polarizing talk show host returned a week ago with Season 18 of her talk show, doing so after several weeks of rumors and allegations soiled her reputation like never before.
As you very likely have read about by now, a number of executive producers on Ellen's program (most of whom have since been fired) were accused by ex-employees this spring and summer of truly despicable behavior.
There was talk of microaggressions.... and racism.. and sexual misconduct.
Ellen, meanwhile, has been painted by many of these same employees, as well as some former guests, as a phony and a fake and as someone who treats her staffers like crap.
Cut to September 21 and DeGeneres taking to the stage before a virtual crowd and addressing these allegations during a five-minute monologue.
“As you may have heard this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation.
"I learned that things happened that never should have happened.
"I take that very seriously,” the comedian explained seven days ago.
Ellen drew some fire for joking that her summer was "super terrific" and also for offering advice to anyone who wants to be known as the "Be Kind Lady" because she said this motto placed her on too high of a pedestal.
But she also added in her monologue:
"I want to say I am so sorry to the people who are affected.
"I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and I realize that with that comes responsibility. And I take responsibility for what happens at my show. This is The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
While her apology fell short in the eyes of some critics, others cared less about what Ellen had to say than what people actually did.
Which is to say:
Did they tune in for the premiere itself?
Will DeGeneres' popularity be affected by this scandal?
According various outlets, The Ellen DeGeneres Show just about equaled the ratings from a year ago with last week's season premiere.
In terms of the key syndication talk show demographic of -- people between the ages of 25 and 54 -- Elle ticked up fractionally to a 0.9 from a 0.8 in 2019.
This figure represents the show’s strongest premiere in the demographic since the 2016-17 season.
Does this mean all is forgiven and forgotten? Not quite.
Many of these people were likely just curious to see DeGeneres had to say about the scandal during her first chance to really do so in public.
Will they keep tuning in? As Ellen keeps making inappropriate jokes?
Only time, folks, will tell.