Annie Barrett
November 08, 2007 AT 07:04 AM EST

On Thursday, Ellen will air its first episode made without the help of its writers. ”I address [the strike], and I have a little fun with trying to fill time with no content,” the daytime talk-show host explained Wednesday during a telephone press conference about her upcoming variety show on TBS. “We tried to figure out how many pints were in a cup, we guessed the inches of the length of the coffee table… today, honestly, I don’t know what I’m gonna do yet. We shoot in five hours. I have to figure out how I’m gonna walk out there and make people happy.” Because her talk-show is syndicated, it can’t simply shut down due to the strike.

For now, Degeneres and her producers are winging it. “We’re all kind of juggling 15 different jobs since we’re minus some people,” she explains. “We sort of have an outline.” And her writers? “I miss ’em, and I love ’em,” she says. “It’s a very strange situation here, and sad. Usually we’re just here laughing all day long. I hope it ends. I hope people can compromise and figure it out. You know, I’m really in a bad place. I’m really stuck in the middle…. It’s just the hardest thing in the world to drive on[to] this lot.”

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