‘Ellen’ returns with virtual audience created using large video panels

The Ellen DeGeneres Show” returned for its 18th season with changes made due to the coronavirus pandemic but also had to address the elephant in the room — accusations of a toxic work environment.

On her first show back Sept. 21, 2020, host Ellen DeGeneres offered a monologue that lightly poked fun at the stress of the summer while also introducing viewers to her virtual audience.

To create this look, producers removed all of the seating on the studio risers and installed an array of freestanding flat panels, each of which showed an image of a fan.

Along the back of the seating area, multi panel installations showcased additional fans (virtually) side by side.

In addressing the actuations first uncovered by a BuzzFeed article, DeGeneres noted that it’s her name on the show — a point she drove him quite literally as the control room quickly cut to shots of some of the multiple “Ellen” logos installed on the walls throughout the studio.