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After the initial coming out frenzy, however, the show's ratings declined and ABC began feeling the pain of a backlash regarding the "gay content" being exhibited.
The final episodes of Ellen were criticized for focusing too much on gay issues, but which spread to the mainstream media.
The revelation ignited a storm of controversy, prompting ABC to place a parental advisory at the beginning of each episode.
Ellen was successful enough in its early seasons to warrant annual renewal, due largely to De Generes' perceived appeal and comic ability, but only with Ellen's coming out did the show make its way into the wide public consciousness and hit a critical plateau.
In September 2013, Ellen began airing on FX Monday-Saturday from 9-11am.
The series centered on Ellen's dealing with her quirky friends, her family and the problems of daily life.
The reruns stopped two episodes into the controversial final season.
Oxygen then picked up the entire series to air starting October 4, 2004, daily at midnight and noon ET, but it has since been removed from the schedule.
In 1997, Ellen made television history when the title character came out as a lesbian in the famous "Puppy Episode" (De Generes herself came out concurrent with the episode on The Oprah Winfrey Show and in Time).
To ensure a memorable moment, the coming out scene was made into a gag where, at an airport, Ellen turns and tells Laura Dern's character "I'm gay!
It features Brett Butler as Grace Kelly and Drew Carey as Drew Carey.