Ellen DeGeneres has put out 3,062 episodes of her hit talk show – and kept millions of viewers happy for 17 long years. Don’t believe us? Just look at all those insanely viral video clips from countless editions of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. But we’re not interested in those kinds of shows today! No, we’re doing a deep dive into the Ellen episodes that the IMDb audience deemed practically unwatchable. The bottom-of-the-barrel. The worst-of-the-worst. The… you get the idea. And, fair warning, we can’t promise that the voters always followed Ellen’s advice to “be kind to one another…”
Just to let you know, these episodes are ranked by their IMDb scores. But where two or more episode scores are the same, the show with the most user ratings goes higher. And where – annoyingly – the number of user ratings are the same as well, the most recent episode goes higher. Episodes without a rating are not included. Now let’s get to it!
40. Season 2: Episode 149 – Owen Wilson/Vince Vaughn
Air date: April 28, 2005
This episode had a strange format. In fact, it might be more accurate to say it was two separate shows mashed into one. We’re talking two opening speeches, two dancing-in-the-audience bits and a pair of interviews – with guests Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn. But if the dire audience score is anything to go by, people really didn’t dig it.
39. Season 3: Episode 17 – Alec Baldwin/Alyson Hannigan
Air date: September 27, 2005
Big-name stars Alec Baldwin and Alyson Hannigan took a back seat to Margaret Carr in this Ellen episode. Never heard of Carr? Don’t worry: you’re not the only ones. That’s because 90-year-old Carr’s claim to fame was that she earned first prize at the Barnesville, Minnesota, Potato Sack Fashion Show. Yet it seems her guest slot didn’t make for spud-tacular viewing.
38. Season 4: Episode 20 – Ashton Kutcher/Ludacris
Air date: September 29, 2006
Ludacris dropped by the Ellen studio to promote his then-current single, “Money Maker” – which won a Grammy. Ashton Kutcher was also on hand to talk about the movie Open Season – which scored $200 million at the global box office. Yet this episode of Ellen was not a hit with viewers. That’s – *ahem* – ludicrous!
37. Season 5: Episode 58 – Paris Hilton
Air date: November 28, 2007
This will not be the last time you see Paris Hilton’s name on this list. The socialite appears so often that it wouldn’t be too much of a struggle to call it a conspiracy. So do IMDb voters just not like the Hilton heiress? It’s impossible to say. What we do know is that six people gave this Ellen episode a bottom-of-the-barrel rating of 1 out of 10. That’s so not hot.
36. Season 1: Episode 124 – Sarah Michelle Gellar/Olivier Martinez/Brad Paisley
Air date: March 23, 2004
TV.com users have a distinctly different opinion of this season one show. Over on that site, nine voters combined to give the episode a near-perfect 9.9 out of 10. So what was it about the show that proved so divisive? Do guest stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, Brad Paisley and Olivier Martinez appeal more to TV.com users than IMDb ones? To be honest, your guess is as good as ours.
35. Season 4: Episode 84 – Little Miss Sunshine cast
Air date: January 15, 2007
On IMDb, the movie Little Miss Sunshine holds an impressive 7.8 rating from more than 435,000 votes. The Steve Carell-starring drama even bagged two Oscars and a nomination for Best Picture. Yet when the film’s cast warmed Ellen’s couch in 2007, it seems that they failed to light up the audience. Strange.
34. Season 2: Episode 162 – Britney Spears & Kevin Federline/The Backstreet Boys
Air date: May 17, 2005
Britney Spears and then-husband Keven Federline interviewing together for the first time? It couldn’t have gotten much bigger than that in 2005. This Ellen episode apparently didn’t go down well with audience members, though. Maybe it was because the pair were promoting their reality show, Britney and Kevin: Chaotic. Entertainment Weekly called that series “career suicide” for Britney.
33. Season 2: Episode 126 – Michael Chiklis/Gavin DeGraw/Kristen Bell
Air date: March 14, 2005
Golden Globe winner Michael Chiklis has appeared on Ellen three times… and two of those episodes are on this list. What about the third episode, you ask? That one doesn’t even have an audience score! This begs the question: what has The Shield star done to so distance the Ellen fans? Answers on a postcard.
32. Season 7: Episode 22 – Elliot Page/Kevin Nealon/Michael Franti & Spearhead
Air date: October 7, 2009
Ellen welcomed Horia Cretan to the studio for this enlightening episode of her show. Cretan had made headlines in early October 2009 for rescuing a four-year-old from a dangerous fire. And it turned out that the everyday hero had also saved his sister from a fiery fate when he was 12 years old. Yet even this heartwarming tale failed to move Ellen’s IMDb viewers.
31. Season 9: Episode 126 – Kristin Chenoweth/David and Tina Long/Nelly Furtado
Air date: March 22, 2012
Ellen was brought to literal tears in this memorable episode. The host was talking to David and Tina Long about the death of their son due to bullying at school. Ellen then had a simple message for her audience, “Tell your children to love other children… to treat them with respect.” So the segment was undoubtedly more subdued than the usual Ellen shtick.
30. Season 1: Episode 125 – Ben Affleck/Sara Rue
Air date: March 24, 2004
Ben Affleck has put in six Ellen appearances, and Sara Rue has appeared on the show four times. But this season one episode – the very first slot for either star – is classed as a stinker by IMDb users. Maybe this is due to 2004 being peak Affleck. By his own admission, the star was dangerously overexposed and in need of a break that year.
29. Season 2: Episode 22 – Leah Remini/Heart
Air date: October 5, 2004
No, this is not the time that Leah Remini dropped in on Ellen to dish the dirt on Scientology. That episode, from 2013, actually holds a decent 6.8 audience score. On this occasion, Remini was just in the studio to talk about all things King of Queens. Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Heart also put in a performance.
28. Season 2: Episode 29 – Annette Bening/Nick Lachey/Richard Marx
Air date: October 14, 2004
In 2004 Nick Lachey was riding high on the success of Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. That was the eye-opening reality show he starred in with his then-wife, Jessica Simpson. But despite fronting a hit series watched by millions, Lachey – and other guests, Annette Bening and Richard Marx – failed to make an impression on Ellen’s viewers.
27. Season 2: Episode 41 – Roseanne Barr/Orlando Jones
Air date: November 1, 2004
Back in the ’90s, Ellen guested on the long-running sitcom Roseanne. Then a decade later, it was Roseanne Barr who was making semi-regular stops at the Ellen studio. This particular episode – which also featured Orlando Jones and fireman Alan Naeole – is the only one rated by IMDb users. But considering the score, that’s not saying much.
26. Season 2: Episode 145 – Ryan Seacrest/Fran Drescher
Air date: April 15, 2005
In 2012 The Hollywood Reporter noted that Ryan Seacrest was putting down $37 million to buy Ellen’s home in Beverly Hills. The magazine said the estate consisted of a 9,200-square-foot property nestled among a massive three-acre plot. Why do we mention all this? Because when Seacrest appeared on Ellen in 2005, there seemingly was nothing good to say about it.
25. Season 3: Episode 2 – Ray Romano/Alicia Keys
Air date: September 6, 2005
It actually sounds like quite a lot of stuff went down in this episode. There’s Alicia Keys performing “Unbreakable,” for one thing. You’ve also got Ellen and Everybody Loves Raymond’s Ray Romano putting in a round of golf. And on top of all that, Ellen found time to drop a classic surprise on one of her viewers. Still, IMDb voters were evidently not impressed.
24. Season 3: Episode 16 – Jodie Foster/Trisha Yearwood/Nick Cannon
Air date: September 26, 2005
For Jodie Foster’s first time on Ellen, the host came up with a bunch of possible Halloween costumes for her to wear. And the one the movie star picked as her favorite was SpongeBob SquarePants. Unfortunately, though, there’s no picture evidence to prove whether Foster actually tried on a SpongeBob outfit. Perhaps that’s why this episode is so poorly rated…?
23. Season 3: Episode 67 – Ted Danson/Shakira/Aisha Tyler
Air date: December 6, 2005
Pop star Shakira popped into Ellen to perform her track “Don’t Bother.” And unfortunately for the Colombian songstress, that pretty much sums up how the public felt about both the tune and this episode of Ellen. After all, “Don’t Bother” didn’t crack the Billboard top 40, and this show only scores a miserable 3 on IMDb.
22. Season 3: Episode 99 – Teri Hatcher/Paul Bettany
Air date: February 2, 2006
There’s one great moment during Ellen’s chat with Desperate Housewives’ Teri Hatcher. It’s where the host plays a forgotten clip of a young Hatcher appearing in The Love Boat, and the star is predictably mortified. Wait, what? That happened the previous time Hatcher was on the show? Oh, well, then apparently nothing of note happened this time around.
21. Season 3: Episode 112 – Samuel L. Jackson/Famke Janssen/Natasha Bedingfield
Air date: February 22, 2006
The theme of this Ellen episode was the “must-see” pop-cultural events of the summer of 2006. So you’ve got Samuel L. Jackson talking about Snakes on a Plane. Famke Janssen also drops by to discuss X-Men: The Last Stand. Mind you, both of those movies disappointed audiences – and so, apparently, did this edition of Ellen.
20. Season 6: Episode 32 – Kristin Chenoweth/Robin Thicke
Air date: October 21, 2008
Ah, poor Kristin Chenoweth. This is her second appearance on this list – and it won’t be her last. What has she done to invite the displeasure of IMDb voters? We’ll probably never know for sure. But perhaps it’s just that she gets paired with not-so-great guests? Here, Ellen welcomed Robin Thicke – an unknown quantity five years before “Blurred Lines.”
19. Season 6: Episode 150 – Kristin Chenoweth/American Idol cast
Air date: April 27, 2009
In 2009 Kristin Chenoweth returned to Ellen to discuss her memoir, A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages. The book is billed as a fun, laugh-filled trip through Chenoweth’s extensive career. You can even find recipes written by Chenoweth nestled in among the heartfelt stories and advice. Alas, it seems that the IMDb voters weren’t rushing out to buy any copies.
18. Season 9: Episode 56 – Stevie Wonder/Kristin Chenoweth/Kym Douglas
Air date: November 30, 2011
Seriously, this is starting to feel like a conspiracy! What could anybody possibly have against Kristin Chenoweth? She helped make Wicked a Broadway sensation, for goodness’ sake! She’s won a Tony AND an Emmy! She starred in the holiday film Deck the Halls… Ah, we think we’ve just found the problem. It’s Deck the Halls, isn’t it?
17. Season 3: Episode 92 – Alicia Silverstone/Shemar Moore
Air date: January 24, 2006
Finally, an Ellen episode without Kristin Chenoweth! This one, from season three, featured Alicia Silverstone and Shemar Moore. But there’s at least one person who doesn’t believe the show belongs on a worst-of list. Over on TV.com, you see, a single voter awarded a resounding 10 out of 10 for this episode. If only we could take that into consideration…
16. Season 5: Episode 12 – Brad Garrett/Sophia Wise and Mike Klinge/Amy Schumer
Air date: September 19, 2007
It’s interesting to note that superstar Amy Schumer gets bottom billing in this episode of Ellen. That’s because, back in 2007, Schumer simply wasn’t the A-lister that she is now. We’re talking eight years before the heights of Trainwreck. Speaking of which, IMDb users seemingly think this edition of Ellen was also a trainwreck.
15. Season 1: Episode 37 – Christina Applegate/Jeff Probst
Air date: October 28, 2003
You know it’s going to be a pretty low-key episode of Ellen when giant-sized pumpkins are wheeled out on stage. Then again, this is a seriously big pumpkin we’re talking about! The 921-pound behemoth was grown by the LaRue family in Washington. But maybe the sight of a massive fruit just doesn’t do it for the IMDb voting crowd.
14. Season 3: Episode 82 – Michael Chiklis/Rick Springfield
Air date: January 10, 2006
Michael Chiklis makes another appearance on our worst-of list, this time with an episode from 2006. And on this evidence, maybe the actor needs to work on his interviewing game. Perhaps he could come up with a gimmick or a catchphrase of some sort. Anything to get those votes going in the right direction!
13. Season 1: Episode 77 – Mandy Moore/Michael Imperioli
Air date: January 8, 2004
Mandy Moore was probably in town to promote her movie Chasing Liberty – a light rom-com in which she plays the first daughter. Yet Ellen’s other guest, Michael Imperioli, was on his way to winning an Emmy for his role in The Sopranos – a violent gangster epic. So perhaps it was the mish-mash of contrasting films and styles that so turned off the fans.
12. Season 2: Episode 4 – Matt LeBlanc/Nelly/Paul Hamm
Air date: September 9, 2004
Remember when Friends finished and Matt LeBlanc went on to star in Joey? No? It was in September 2004? The show was about LeBlanc’s character, Joey, trying to make it in Hollywood? Still not ringing any bells? Well, maybe that’s why this episode of Ellen – where LeBlanc promoted Joey – scored so poorly.
11. Season 2: Episode 58 – Tom Hanks/Gwen Stefani
Air date: November 24, 2004
On paper, this show seems like a home run. There can’t be a person alive who doesn’t love Tom Hanks, right? And then you’ve got Gwen Stefani performing her certified-gold single “What You Waiting For?” On top of that, Ellen dedicated the entire show to U.S. soldiers and their families. Yet despite all of this good stuff, the episode ranks as one of Ellen’s worst. Go figure.
10. Season 1: Episode Unknown – Nick Lachey/Jessica Simpson
Air date: March 9, 2004
In 2004 Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson were so hot that they were given their own special. Yep, The Nick & Jessica Variety Hour featured the then-beloved pair performing tracks and putting on sketches. Kermit the Frog made an appearance, too! Yet when the couple visited Ellen in March 2004, the episode was apparently greeted with shrugs all around.
9. Season 4: Episode 3 – Kevin Federline
Air date: September 6, 2006
Who knew Kevin Federline released a studio album? Anybody? No? Well, it’s true. In 2006 Britney Spears’ then-husband unleashed Playing with Fire on an unsuspecting public. The record sold just 6,000 copies and barely made an impression on the Billboard charts. So it seems his performance on this episode of Ellen really didn’t help.
8. Season 2: Episode 139 – Kevin Costner/Michael Clarke Duncan
Air date: April 7, 2005
Kevin Costner has put out his fair share of duds. There’s his 1997 movie, The Postman, which was a three-hour-long box-office flop. And no one could forget Waterworld, the actor’s other major misstep that was bypassed by cinemagoers. But now Costner can add this episode of Ellen to his list of things-he-probably-wishes-he-hadn’t-done.
7. Season 1: Episode 92 – Ashton Kutcher/Deidre Hall/Travis
Air date: January 29, 2004
Ashton Kutcher had just made a name for himself with the likes of Punk’d and That ’70s Show when he first dropped in on Ellen. Yep, this is the very first of Kutcher’s 13 appearances on the show. And that’s a pretty high number when you consider that the star clearly didn’t originally endear himself to the watching IMDb voters.
6. Season 2: Episode 93 – Paris Hilton/Ciara
Air date: January 26, 2005
It’s Ellen’s birthday! And what better way to spend her 47th birthday than talking to Paris Hilton? The socialite even brought her host a gift. Granted, the present was a pink T-shirt with the word “blonde” on it, but it’s the thought that counts. Judging by this episode’s rating, though, Ellen could perhaps have celebrated the occasion with a bit more style – or another guest…
5. Season 3: Episode 72 – Jim Carrey/Bo Bice
Air date: December 13, 2005
Guest Jim Carrey really pulled out the stops for this interview with Ellen. The star was in town to promote his movie Fun with Dick and Jane – but he squeezed in plenty of other activities, too. Pretending his chair is a flying saucer? Check! Singing a Christmas song? Check! The funnyman went all out. Alas, his efforts were apparently in vain.
4. Season 3: Episode 150 – Paris Hilton/Kellie Pickler/David Frei
Air date: May 1, 2006
The theme of this episode of Ellen is dogs. So if you’re a cat person, you know right off the bat that this isn’t a show for you. Doggo antics include Paris Hilton and her four pups – including the dearly departed Tinkerbell – dropping by and Ellen welcoming co-host David Frei from Westminster Dog Show. Sadly, viewers seemingly felt the episode was ruff around the edges.
3. Season 2: Episode 155 – Paris Hilton/Kathy Hilton/Mekhi Phifer/Rhoda Phifer
Air date: May 6, 2005
This episode is billed as among “the biggest shows ever!” That might have something to do with Ellen packing the episode with mom-related guests and giveaways. You’ve got people such as Kathy and Paris Hilton and Mekhi Phifer and his mom, Rhoda, turning up for chats. And even Ellen’s mother turned up for a game! None of it was enough to convince the IMDb audience, mind you.
2. Season 1: Episode Unknown – Paris Hilton/Jill Scott
Air date: August 14, 2004
And so we come to the top two – or should that be bottom two? – worst-ever episodes of Ellen. The episode voted the second-worst of all time is this one from 2004, starring – you guessed it – Paris Hilton. Jill Scott also put in a performance, but even that wasn’t enough to stop viewers from giving this a terrible 1.6 rating. That’s gotta hurt!
1. Season 1: Episode 110 – Mischa Barton/Jim Belushi/Tom Jones
Air date: February 24, 2004
Taking up the number one spot is this apparently atrocious season one episode. It featured interviews with Mischa Barton and Jim Belushi as well as a song from Tom Jones. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Wrong! The internet has decided that Ellen doesn’t get any worse than this. And when was the internet ever wrong? Never, that’s when.