As you’ve likely heard by now Ellen Degeneres is at the center of a scandal involving allegations of bullying and mistreatment leveled by guests and former staff of her popular daytime talk show.
Each new day seems to bring new allegations against DeGeneres, and the future of her one-woman media empire is now in question.
Some insiders have claimed that DeGeneres will quit her hosting gig rather than suffer the indignity of further allegations.
Others say Ellen’s show will be canceled as a result of a pending investigation conducted by her production and distribution companies, Warner Bros. and Telepictures.
Either way, it’s tough to imagine Ellen’s show returning to the studio once the pandemic begins to subside, and it’s safe to return to work.
Of course, DeGeneres has been the reigning queen of daytime for 17 years now.
So her absence will leave a power vacuum that Warner and Telepictures will seek to fill as quickly as possible.
And it seems the companies are not waiting to see how the situation plays out before decinding on their next move.
According to OK! magazine, actress Kristen Bell has emerged as the frontrunner to replace DeGeneres.
An insider tells the tabloid that Bell’s longstanding relationship with Warner Bros. makes her the “heir apparent” and execs have been “quietly grooming her to take over” Ellen’s spot since before this latest round of controversies.
“With Ellen’s scandal, Kristen’s name tops the short list,” the source says.
“Kristen has been quietly honing her hosting skills. Even better for Warner Bros., everyone in Hollywood loves Kristin.”
There’s been talk of late night host James Corden replacing Ellen, but the source says the UK import was quickly dismissed as an option
“They have been grooming her as the replacement,” the insider says of Bell.
“She is definitely in front of James Corden,” the insider adds.
“They want a woman and no-one is funnier or more relatable than Kristen.”
While Bell is best known as an actress, thanks to her roles on TV series such as Veronica Mars and The Good Place, the 40-year-old mother of two has reportedly been seeking to transition to hosting for several years now.
She already has ties to the Ellen franchise, thanks to her Momsplaining web series, which streams on the show’s YouTube channel.
Of course, that might cause the famously cutthroat DeGeneres to view Bell’s hiring as even more of a slap in the face.
Ellen is under contract with Warner Bros. until 2022, but higher-ups at the company reportedly feel that her recent scandals will make it impossible for the company to continue working with her.
That might mean buying her out or taking advantage of a morality clause and terminating the contract.
Either way, it seems increasingly unlikely that you’ll ever again see DeGeneres beaming in front of a live studio audience.
Instead, it sounds as though there’s a good chance a different blonde with a megawatt smile will be standing in her place early as this fall.