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Ellen and TMZ on TV reveal daytime TV's dark side: Both are part of Telepictures, which has a history of shows with toxic workplaces dating back to Rosie

  • The Hollywood Reporter points out that several key figures in the The Ellen DeGeneres Show and TMZ toxic workplace scandals have a long history with the production company Telepictures. "To the average person, the two workplaces could seem unrelated. But Ellen and TMZ both end in credits that feature a twirling 'T' — for Telepictures, the syndication giant that produces both, plus Extra, The Real and Judge Mathis, among many others," report The Hollywood Reporter's Katie Kilkenny and Seth Abramovitch. "A Hollywood Reporter investigation into Telepictures, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Television, reveals it to be a repeat offender when it comes to breaches of professional protocol. According to interviews with more than two dozen current and former Telepictures employees — both at the studio and on its shows — the culture, which once typified the rough-and-tumble world of syndicated TV, has simply not kept in step with the rapidly changing times. It’s a troubling pattern that stretches as far back as its first daytime megahit, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, which ran in syndication from 1996 to 2002. Several key figures in the Ellen and TMZ affairs were executives on Rosie and were later shuffled around among other Telepictures productions — like The Bonnie Hunt Show and The Tyra Banks Show — where similar problems arose, according to multiple people with knowledge of the situations. One of the original Rosie producers, Andy Lassner, remains at Ellen as an executive producer." As one former Telepictures producer put it: "What you had at Ellen are showrunners who came from notoriously toxic environments, so what resulted was the worst of all those worlds. A place where the EPs cater to the host, restrict virtually every other staffer’s access to the host, and then make you work 80- to 90-hour weeks almost for sport 'because that’s what they had to do.'" Earlier this summer, The Real co-host Amanda Seales hinted at a toxic culture when she quit after six months, saying "the people at the top are not respecting the necessity for Black voices to be at the top, too." In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, WarnerMedia says: "We are hopeful that our industry has finally reached a turning point and recognizes that behavior that may have been tolerated decades ago simply can no longer be accepted. To that end, we take all allegations of abuse or discrimination seriously, regardless of time frame, and will investigate these claims."

    TOPICS: The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Real, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, TMZ, Ellen DeGeneres, Harvey Levin, Daytime TV, Telepictures , Warner Bros. TV, WarnerMedia