'Ellen's Game of Games' Renewed for Season 2 at NBC

ELLEN'S GAME OF GAMES - Ellen DeGeneres - Publicity-H 2018
Courtesy of Mike Rozman/NBC

NBC didn't wait long to renew its latest unscripted hit.

Fresh off its Jan. 2 regular time slot debut, the network on Tuesday handed out an early season two pickup for Ellen's Game of Games. The second season will consist of 13 episodes, more than double the six-episode freshman order.

The news comes after the Jan. 2 episode averaged an impressive 2.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 9.8 million total viewers (with three days of DVR). The second episode on the night increased to a 2.7 in the all-important advertiser-coveted demo and 9.9 million viewers overall. That's the highest in-season results for a regular-slot alternative series premiere since March 2016 among live-plus-same-day viewers as well as NBC’s best in-season total-viewer performance in the slot with a non-Voice series in more than five years. Ellen's Game of Games had an impressive preview Dec. 18 after The Voice, scoring the Monday at 10 p.m. slot's best non-sports ratings (and best retention) in more than a year, bowing with a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 7.4 million viewers.

Ellen DeGeneres serves as host and executive produces the hourlong game show that features games from her syndicated daytime talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Produced by Warner Horizon Unscripted (DeGeneres is under an overall deal for scripted and unscripted fare at Warner Bros. Television), Telepictures and DeGeneres' A Very Good Production topper Jeff Kleeman oversee the series alongside Kevin A. Leman II, Mary Connelly, Ed Glavin, Andy Lassner, Derek Westervelt and David A. Hurwitz.

“I’m so excited to get to do another season because I’m not just the producer and host, I’m also a loyal viewer,” said DeGeneres. "I hope this can continue to be a show that families can come together and enjoy watching as much as I enjoy hosting. I don’t wanna say this next season is gonna be even messier, but I have invested heavily into a whipped cream company.”

DeGeneres also exec produces NBC unscripted series First Dates, Little Big Shots and its spinoff, Little Big Shots: Forever Young. On the scripted side, she next has ABC comedy Splitting Up Together.

“Ellen is a comic genius and no one relates to their fans the way she does,” said Mike Darnell, president of Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Television. “With Ellen’s Game of Games she has yet another out-of-the-box hit and we are absolutely thrilled to start shooting our second season.”

Said Paul Telegdy, NBC's president, Alternative and Reality Group: “Ellen’s enthusiasm and energy is utterly infectious. It’s been exciting to watch her antics supersized on a primetime stage. Audiences love spending time with her and we know she’ll continue to raise the bar with even bigger games and more hilarity as the show continues to grow.”

Ellen's Game of Games arrives as late-night talk shows have become an incubator for unscripted series following the breakout success of Spike's Lip Sync Battle, which is based on the popular Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon segment. (NBC famously passed on the project.) To that point, TBS has found success by taking James Corden's Drop the Mic segment to series, while the host of CBS' The Late Late Show has a version of Carpool Karaoke on Apple TV and has licensed the format internationally. ABC also pulled from Jimmy Kimmel Live! for the game show Who Knows.