Ellen’s Empire

ellen degeneres photo
Ellen DeGeneres, age 37, in 1995. Photo by Alan Light

With the catchphrase “Be kind to one another” and an unprecedented 20 People’s Choice Awards it’s hard to imagine that there is anyone on the planet who doesn’t like Ellen DeGeneres. Not only does she run an empire, but she is also an avid humanitarian who loves animals.

When the queen of daytime television, Oprah Winfrey, retired her coach in 2011, Ellen surpassed expectations by filling the void. “I don’t think I could be here without her,” Ellen told the audience of her talk show. “She will always be the Queen of daytime television. She deserves to rest. She has worked really, really hard.”

Ellen even shared the cover of the December 2009 issue of The Oprah Magazine (O), which usually features only Oprah Winfrey, after a successful campaign Ellen called “O, yes I can!” The only other person to the share the cover with Oprah before Ellen was the First Lady Michelle Obama.

While she started out as a stand-up comedian, Ellen has built a lucrative empire with many facets. She ranked number 13 on Forbes business magazine’s Celebrity 100 list in 2016, with annual earnings of $75 million.

A talk show

Ellen on the set of The Ellen DeGeneres show in 2008. Photo by ronpaulrevolt2008
Ellen on the set of The Ellen DeGeneres show in 2008. Photo by ronpaulrevolt2008

Since September 2003 Ellen has been hosting her own television talk-variety show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which combines celebrity, comedy, musical guests and human-interest stories with a lot of dancing. The hour-long show airs five days a week. In agreement with the former opening theme song, “Let’s Have a Little Fun,” Ellen often plays games with her guests and audience members. She also scares her celebrity guests frequently in a segment she calls “Celebrity Pranks!”

The Ellen DeGeneres Show has won over 50 Daytime Emmy Awards, among numerous other awards. According to tv.com, the show is one of the world’s highest rated shows. “Ellen is an antidote for the times,” says Hilary Estey McLoughlin, president of Telepictures Productions, which produces the talk show. “She focuses on being kind to others in a bully culture.”

Production company

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is produced by Ellen’s own production company, A Very Good Production Inc.


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Ellen DeGeneres hosting the 86th Academy Awards ceremony on 2 March 2014. Photo by Disney | ABC Television Group

Ellen DeGeneres began her career as a stand-up comedian in small clubs and coffee houses in New Orleans. Her routine soon featured on various talk shows, including Good Morning, America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Later with Greg Kinnear and Larry King Live.

“Most stand-up comics, in that era and even today, their routines at some point revolve around sex. And Ellen had a very different act. It was a clean act and it was a very clever act,” says Neil Rosen, entertainment critic for NY1.

By the early 1980s Ellen was touring as a stand-up comedian. She released the stand-up specials Ellen DeGeneres: The Beginning in 2000 and Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now in 2003. Each episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show begins with Ellen delivering a short, often hilarious, monologue.

Ellen has also hosted the Grammy Awards (twice), the Primetime Emmy Awards (thrice) and the Academy Awards (twice).


With the success of her prime-time television series, Ellen, Ellen DeGeneres gained recognition as an actress. Initially titled These Friends of Mine, Ellen received critical acclaim, while Ellen DeGeneres won a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Female Performer in a New TV Series.

That all changed when she decided to reveal to the world that she was gay – using the show as a catalyst. “The Puppy Episode” (a.k.a. the coming-out episode) aired in 1997 and was one of the highest-rated episodes of the show. The episode also won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. However, the next year the network pulled the show.

More recently, Ellen DeGeneres provided the voice of Dory in the animated films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. Her performance received critical acclaim.


From 1995 to 2015 Ellen DeGeneres published four books – My Point…And I Do Have One, The Funny Thing Is…, Seriously…I’m Kidding and Home.

Ellen DeGeneres, age 55, in 2013. Photo by celebrityabc
Ellen DeGeneres, age 55, in 2013. Photo by celebrityabc

A record label

After contemplating to start a record label for a while, Ellen decided to turn the idea into a reality when she discovered 12-year-old singer Greyson Chance and his performance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show went viral on the show’s YouTube channel.

“I’m excited about having a label. I’m looking forward to working with Grayson on his first album, and I’m looking forward to discovering more new artists,” says Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen also stated that the label will be looking to sign less known artists. She has reached out to the public on her website to submit videos of promising new artists for consideration by the label.

Mobile apps and games

Ellen’s mobile games originated from games played on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Heads Up!, Heads Up! Kids, Psych! and the newest Dice with Ellen). Ellen’s Emoji Exploji is an app which provides the user with fun filled emojis designed by Ellen. Ellen also launched Ellen’s App and EllenTube App.


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