Deciding delivering smiles to the faces of the tourists who had traveled great distances just to dance in her aisles was more important than delivering platters of Nate'n Al's lox to her striking writers and marching alongside them, Ellen DeGeneres chose, like many other daytime talk shows, to cross picket lines. Deadline Hollywood Daily printed what she'll say about the issue on tomorrow's show—a declaration of the love she feels for the drones who put the funny words in her mouth that amounts to no less than 1/10,000th of the love she feels for regifted rat-dogs. Unmoved, however, is blogger Surgical Strikes, who worked as a writer's assistant on her sitcom The Ellen Show in 2001, and remembers a far different DeGeneres/writer relationship:
I don't know how Ellen treats her current writers, but I can tell you about how she treated the previous batch:
People tend to be disappointed when I answer the "What was Ellen really like?" question by suggesting she must be a very talented actress to convince America she's nice. We'd watch her in rehearsals, smiling and winning us over with her charm and comic timing. Then the director would yell cut, her face would fall, and she'd level a glare at the writers.
"Why do you keep writing these unfunny jokes?" she'd hiss. [...]
We saw her through her first time hosting the Emmies, and many of our writers penned that material. They wrote jokes for three versions of the show after the telecast kept getting postponed because of 9/11. Finally, it aired (opposite Game 7 of the World Series, no less) and Ellen did a great job with great material. The next day, staff and crew greeted her with a hearty round of applause. Did she thank the writers for their jokes, or at least their hard work? Here's what I remember her saying: "I felt like I really reasserted myself in the industry last night."
Later I heard she blamed the show's cancellation on 9/11 delaying the premiere.
There's lots more anecdotal evidence at Surgical Strikes, revealing the affable daytime funny lady for the joke-devouring Medusa she really was, whose withering glare over a clunky Joely Fisher exchange could instantly turn a co-producer into yet another solid granite sculpture she'd use to line her cavernous foyer, a row of terrified joke-pitchers frozen in time she proudly referred to as her Hall of Terminated Writers.