The Kelly Clarkson Show is “Toxic” and “Traumatizing” say Staffers

The Kelly Clarkson Show
Pictured: Kelly Clarkson — (Photo by: Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal)

Sources say The Kelly Clarkson Show is “toxic” and “traumatizing” behind the scenes

Behind the scenes of The Kelly Clarkson Show employees are overworked and underpaid. Employees say that working at the show was traumatizing to their mental health and describe it as a toxic environment.

The report comes from Rolling Stone magazine, which spoke anonymously with one current and 10 former employees of the show. The sources, RS claims, are veterans in the entertainment industry who “know the potential downsides of working in a high-pressure environment like daytime television.”

“Kelly has no clue how unhappy her staff is”

It’s important to note that the sources are “confident” that Kelly Clarkson herself doesn’t have a “sense of how unhappy employees are with the working conditions.”

“NBC is protecting the show because it’s their new money maker, but Kelly has no clue how unhappy her staff is,” one former employee says.

A second former employee added, “I remember going up on the roof of the stage to cry, being like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what am I doing? Why am I putting myself through this?’”

“Kelly is fantastic. She is a person who never treats anyone with anything but dignity and is incredibly appreciative,” one former employee told RS. “I would be shocked if she knew. I’d be floored if she knew the staff wasn’t getting paid for two weeks of Christmas hiatus. The Kelly that I interacted with and that everyone knows would probably be pretty aghast to learn that.”

A source calls executive producer Alex Duda a “monster”

The villain in this story, according to RS sources, is executive producer Alex Duda, who did not respond to RS requests for comment. Duda previously served as showrunner on the Steve Harvey and The Tyra Banks Show. Currently, the show has halted production due to the Writers Guild strike. Employees don’t think they will finish the current season.

“I think Alex Duda’s a monster,” a former employee told RS. “I have a friend who’s an executive producer who warned me about taking this job, because apparently she has done this on every show she’s worked on.”

The RS sources believe that Kelly isn’t aware of how bad things are for lower-level stafers. They are so poorly paid, some have taken on extra gigs as babysitters, dog walkers and drivers. Behind the scenes, they say, there is a difference between those favored by Duda and those who are not.

The sources stress they have reported the toxic environment to HR. They take notes, but then nothing happens.

The Kelly Clarkson Show
Pictured: Kelly Clarkson — (Photo by: Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal)

List of reported bad behavior

  • A producer who reports to Duda yelled and cursed at one of the RS sources multiple times onstage.
  • Producers bully and intimidate workers and go out of their way to make staffers feel scared to ask questions and get their work done.
  • The RS sources report deteriorating mental health due to the abuse. One took a month long hiatus, and saw a psychiatrist for the first time in their life. They’ve worked in the entertainment industry for years on a number of different sets, but The Kelly Clarkson Show “is by far the worst experience I’ve ever had in my entire life,” they say. “It deterred me from wanting to work in daytime ever again,” they say. “When I say I was traumatized, I was really traumatized.”
  • A production manager reportedly was verbally abusive to a source, which was corroborated by other current and former staffers. For instance, they saw him throw a stapler across their office. “He would speak in a way that you’re not supposed to in a professional environment — cursing, raising his voice, and throwing a huge temper tantrum,” the former employee said. “Other people who know him would laugh it off and say, ‘Oh, he’s in a bad mood,’ but it shouldn’t be laughed off. Why does he get a pass for bad behavior?”
  • When one source asked about how the show would address the spread of anti-Asian hate crimes, Duda reprimanded them. After reporting the incident to HR, the source was “subsequently bullied, yelled at, and left out of future meetings by the executive producers they complained about.” They eventually left the show. “I can’t believe I raised something that wasn’t easy to raise in the first place, got attacked for it, and then when I told them how they made me feel uncomfortable for bringing an important issue to them, they attacked me again and made me feel even worse.”
  • The Writers Guild launched an investigation into the show after producers allegedly wrote episodes, violating WGA’s agreement.

Staff told about details of the New York City move at the last minute

The show is set to begin filming in New York City next season. Rumors about the move swirled for months. “Then, during a staff meeting in January 2023, following the show’s holiday hiatus, they say Clarkson revealed her desire to head back to the East Coast because she wanted to be closer to her family and be able to pursue Broadway and other passions,” the RS report states. “Duda also individually met with people to take their temperature on whether or not they would be interested in moving with the show.”

But staffers say they were unaware of the details regarding the move until Duda sent an email out two minutes before Variety confirmed the news earlier this week.

Veteran daytime TV workers want to see the culture change

Other daytime talk shows such as the Ellen Degeneres Show, and more have reputations for abusive working environments. People who work in the industry say the cycle of behind-the-scenes misconduct and wrongdoing continues in daytime television because the same executive producers and showrunners bring their experiences and behaviors to other shows.

But those who still work in daytime want to see that cycle come to an end. “There’s a culture of non-accountability for some people, and that needs to change,” a former employee told RS.

“People shouldn’t be treated like this,” another former employee told the outlet. “Especially when you’re working on a TV show that’s winning Emmys and bringing in millions of ad dollars.”

About mj santilli 34998 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!