Sylvia Green didn’t care about the money. She just wanted to work for Ellen DeGeneres. It was 1996 and Green had left a high-powered job in public relations to pursue a career in television writing. She’d found some work helping out with shows like “The Nanny” and “Mad About You.” But when she was offered the chance to join “Ellen” as a writer’s assistant in 1996, she couldn’t resist. “Ellen,” the sitcom, was at the time just a moderately successful TV show about a somewhat...

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