Ratings for US TV host Ellen DeGeneres' talk show have slumped by more than a third following revelations of a "toxic environment" for staff.
The new season of the show, which premiered online three weeks ago, had 38 percent less viewers than last year, according to ratings monitor Neilsen Media Research.
Neilsen said the show's 21 September premier for its 18th season attracted 29 percent fewer live and same-day catch-up views, and that average audiences since then had been a mere 1.7 million - 38 percent lower than last year.
But the TV ratings firm said most daytime talks shows, with the exception of Live With Kelly and Ryan, and Tamron Hall, had fewer viewers this year despite millions of workers remaining furloughed at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"I learned that things happened here that never should have happened", DeGeneres said in her five-minute opening monologue. "I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected".
After Buzzfeed broke the story in mid-July, 36 former employees accused The Ellen DeGeneres Show executive producers Kevin Leman and Ed Glavin, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman, of sexual misconduct and harassment. Warner Bros. Television announced their dismissal on 17 August.
“She knows s*** goes on, but also she doesn’t want to hear it”, one whistle-blower told Buzzfeed. “You cannot stand up in front of an audience as large as hers every single day for 17 years and say the words ‘be kind to one another’ and do what she did”, another said.
Other staff spoke of racist comments from colleagues that were laughed off, while some said they were fired just for taking days off for illness or to attend family funerals.