Ellen DeGeneres has been continuing her daily syndicated talk show from the comfort of her own home, amid the coronavirus shutdown, which has angered her ‘furious’ crew amid poor communication regarding their pay.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s main stage crew, which is comprised of roughly 30 people, received ‘no communication’ about issues like pay and working hours for over a month, an insider told Variety on Thursday.
To make matters worse, the crew was also ‘furious’ upon learning that the daytime talk show host hired a non-union tech company to help DeGeneres broadcast daily from her home in California.
Two sources at Ellen’s show, speaking under anonymity, said that ‘higher-ups in production would occasionally answer phone calls but reveal little’ about their status.
Crew members finally heard from production executives last week, when they were told to expect a whopping 60% pay decrease, even while the show continues airing.
Sources added that there are only four of the core crew members who are currently working on the remote version of Ellen.
A spokesperson for Warner Bros. Television made it clear the crew is still getting paid, though they confirmed their hours are reduced.
‘Our executive producers and Telepictures are committed to taking care of our staff and crew and have made decisions first and foremost with them in mind.
Still, sources claim that for over two weeks, from late March until April 9, the crew were never told how much they would be paid.
During this communication ‘blackout,’ Ellen expanded her at-home, going from hosting four shows a week to five, all which were shot over a two-day period at her home.
The show typically films four 10-hour work days per week, but the crew was told on April 10 that they should expect to be paid for just two eight-hour days a week.
At the same time, Ellen hired Key Code Media to produce ‘technical elements’ of the show’s new remote production while her crew members with the same skill set were not working.
A rep for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union said they were of the crew would continue to be paid, but crew members were told to ‘watch closely’ for developments.
‘Due to social distancing requirements, technical changes in the way the show is produced had to be made to comply with city ordinances and public health protocols,’ said a WB spokesperson, while clarifying that no Ellen crew member lost their job because of hiring Key Code.
Crew members also added that what was most upsetting was the, ‘lack of personal outreach’ from the show’s leadership during this unprecedented crisis.
Conversely, the crew also learned that crew members on similar shows were being paid, and treated, much more fairly.
Jimmy Kimmel has reportedly been paying crew members of his Jimmy Kimmel Live show from his own pocket during the COVID-19 outbreak shutdown, and once they returned on air, ABC was paying their full rates.
Sources claimed that crew members on TNT’s Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and Showtime’s Desus and Mero were also being paid full rates with transparent communication.
From Daily Mail