October 10, 1997 in Nation/World

Ellen’s Unhappy, But Back At Work Comedy Star Threatened To Quit Over Battles With Abc

Associated Press
 

Ellen DeGeneres reported for work Thursday on the set of her ABC comedy despite a public threat to quit over battles with the network over scripts and an “adult content” warning label being placed on her show.

“She’s not happy,” said her spokeswoman, Pat Kingsley. “I think it’s an exaggeration to say she’s leaving the show or threatening to leave the show. I think she would like to continue to keep doing the show.”

In an interview published in Thursday’s New York Times, DeGeneres said she and her executive producer, Tim Doyle, “are ready to walk off the show” because of fights with the network.

ABC advised parental discretion “due to adult content” prior to Wednesday’s “Ellen” episode, in which the star engaged in a joking - but lengthy - kiss with actress Joely Fisher, who plays Ellen Morgan’s heterosexual best friend.

DeGeneres called it “blatant discrimination” because she and her character are gay, and said no other ABC show would carry such a warning for a similar scene.

The disgruntled actress also said that ABC Entertainment President Jamie Tarses had nixed a scene in a future episode in which Morgan and a woman walk toward a bedroom, presumably to have sex.

Tarses and other ABC executives weren’t talking Thursday. Spokesman Kevin Brockman said DeGeneres hadn’t made any threats to quit to them.

DeGeneres hasn’t been happy with ABC for a while, reportedly because she didn’t want to continue her sitcom this year but the network wouldn’t release her from her contract. She complained last month when top executives didn’t call to congratulate her about winning an Emmy Award.

Losing “Ellen,” for all its headaches lately, would be a blow to ABC. Ranked 30th in the Nielsen Media Research ratings so far this season, it’s one of the struggling network’s few successes.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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