You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Emmys nominees: DeGeneres’ Emmys solo prelude to laffer bow

Back to laughs, sez comedian

Yep, she’s back.

After taking an unplanned detour into tabloid hell, Ellen DeGeneres is getting ready to return to her regularly scheduled career as a sitcom star/all-purpose funny woman.

She’s even landed a high-profile gig to help her come out (again): Hosting the 53rd annual Prime Time Emmy Awards.

The next night, DeGeneres’ new laffer, “The Ellen Show,” will bow on CBS in a special sneak preview before moving to its regular Friday time slot. The show marks the comic’s first stab at series television since her ground-breaking ABC sitcom exited in 1998.

DeGeneres has no regrets about her much publicized coming out or her decision to have her sitcom alter ego do the same in 1997. And while her character on “The Ellen Show” will be a lesbian, the new series won’t spend much time exploring gay issues.

“I’ve done that,” DeGeneres says. “Now I just want to come back and be funny.”

She’ll get a chance to do just that when she hosts the Emmys – a gig DeGeneres admits is one of the toughest in town. “It’s not about you, yet you have to set a tone for the entire evening.

“The great thing is you’re performing in front of all these people who are brilliant,” DeGeneres continues. “The scary thing is you’re performing in front of all these people who are brilliant. You can’t expect the response you get when you’re onstage in front of fans.”

DeGeneres believes Emmy auds view comedy in a different way than the typical home viewer.

“They appreciate good comedy but when something’s funny, they nod their heads and say, ‘That’s funny,’ instead of laughing,” she says.

DeGeneres speaks from experience as she is no award show amateur.

She hosted the Grammys in 1996, trying (unsuccessfully) to get the phrase “booty slap” into the national lexicon. She also shared Emmys emcee duties with Patricia Richardson in 1994.

DeGeneres has already started training for this kudocast – albeit not in traditional ways.

“I started with jumping jacks,” she says. “I’m also starting endurance training and reading a lot of Buddhism books, so I can be in the moment. And I’m watching ‘Oprah’ every day.”

Despite her pop culture savvy, DeGeneres is not a heavy viewer of traditional television.

“I watch HBO and Animal Planet a lot,” she says. “I watch ‘Frasier’ and ‘Will & Grace’ but I don’t watch a whole lot of sitcoms. And I love the Game Show Network.”

As for “The Ellen Show,” DeGeneres says her new character – a dot-com exec who moves back to her small-town home when her Web biz crashes- will be comfortable with who she is when audiences meet her for the first time: Sexual orientation won’t be a primary focus.

Because of that, “some people are going to say it’s not gay enough, and some people are going to say it’s too gay,” DeGeneres predicts. “I just want to make the best show possible.”

Deciding to return to series television wasn’t too hard.

“It’s my job. It’s what I do,” she says. “I love the schedule of a TV show and the fact that you get to do something new and challenging every week. Why shouldn’t I do another show?”

In addition to overcoming what DeGeneres calls preconceived notions of what “Ellen Show” will be about, the new series has another hurdle to overcome: a not-so-hot timeslot.

With the Eye’s Monday comedy block firing on all cylinders, CBS decided to sked “The Ellen Show” Fridays at 8 p.m.- traditionally a death slot for the net. But DeGeneres is surprisingly upbeat about the scheduling.

“If there’s a show people want to watch, they’re going to find it,” she says. “And if they have to go out, they’ll tape it.”

She also knows that CBS will no doubt move her skein if it demonstrates any sign of Nielsen life, much as it shifted “Everybody Loves Raymond” from its original Friday slot.

What’s more, DeGeneres thinks the pressure to perform will be much lower Fridays, giving the show time to find its voice.

“Now it’s up to me to be funny, move on and show people what got me here in the first place,” she says.

More TV

  • The Play That Goes Wrong review

    BBC Orders Comedy Series Based on ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’

    The BBC has greenlit “The Goes Wrong Show,” a new series based on Mischief Theatre’s popular “The Play That Goes Wrong” stage production about a troupe that puts on disastrous plays. The stage show has transferred from London’s West End to Broadway for a J.J. Abrams-produced version described by Variety as “a broad, silly and [...]

  • WGA West Logo

    Writers Guild Sends Hollywood Agents Proposed Code of Conduct

    Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have sent Hollywood talent agencies a proposed “Code of Conduct” with tough new restrictions on how they operate as agents for writer clients. The WGA made the disclosure Thursday night in an email to its 12,000 members, a day after announcing that it will hold a March 25 [...]

  • Jussie Smollett court

    Jussie Smollett's Attorneys Say He Was Victim of Police 'Spectacle'

    Jussie Smollett’s legal team issued a defiant statement on Thursday night, saying the “Empire” actor feels betrayed by the justice system and hinting at a political motive for his prosecution. Smollett was arrested early Thursday on a felony charge of filing a false police report. He was released after a court hearing on $100,000 bond, [...]

  • Carra Patterson Sarah Levy Paola Lazaro

    Fox Casts Four Leads in 'Patty's Auto' Pilot

    Fox has announced the casting of four lead characters for its multi-cam comedy pilot “Patty’s Auto,” including the eponymous Patty. Inspired by Patrice Banks’ Girls Auto Clinic, an auto repair shop with all female mechanics, the project centers on Patty, the intimidating owner of Patty’s Auto who will be played by “Straight Outta Compton” alumna [...]

  • Adam Pally Abby Elliott

    Adam Pally, Abby Elliott Join Cast of NBC Comedy Pilot 'Uninsured'

    NBC pilot “Uninsured” has cast four of its series regulars, with Adam Pally (“The Mindy Project,” “The President Show”) and Abby Elliott (“Saturday Night Live,” “Odd Mom Out”) playing the young married couple at the center of the show. Pally will play Dave, who is described as a “natural hype man with a good heart.” Elliott [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Appeared in Documentary on

    Jussie Smollett Recently Hosted Doc on Lynching, Filmmaker Talks 'Coincidence'

    In May 2018, Jussie Smollett appeared as the narrator and correspondent in an episode of the Epix documentary series “America Divided” that explored the subject of hate crimes, specifically lynching, in the state of Tennessee. Now that the “Empire” actor has been charged with filing a false police report and Chicago police are convinced he [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content