Chatty cathy RICKI LAKE’s ugly meltdown as TV ratings plummet, ranting she hates her new show!

“Ricki literally broke down in tears and collapsed after a grueling day of filming,” a source told The ENQUIRER.

“But it wasn’t the long day as much as the show’s quality that got to her. She was screaming, ‘This isn’t what I signed up for! I hate my job! I hate my job! I HATE my job!’ ”

The 44-year-old hosted a highly rated New York-based talk show from 1993 to 2004, covering lowbrow topics such as feuding baby mamas, paternity suits and drag-queen makeovers.

And Ricki – who shot to fame in the 1988 cult classic “Hairspray” – believed her new syndicated chat fest, “The Ricki Lake Show,” would be different.

“We’re doing a show that is elevated content for women 25 to 54,” she told a reporter before its September 2012 debut.

But that’s not how things have played out, said the source.

“The show was supposed to be classier and more topical, like Katie Couric’s, and Ricki believed she’d be interviewing A-list mov­ers and shakers,” said the source.

“But the ratings are low, and Ricki feels the producers are pushing her back to her old ways with shows on ambush makeovers, nanny confidentials, gays leading straight lives and matchmaking. Their feeling is, ‘if it worked in the past, it will work again.’ ”

The mother of two boys – who’s now married to jewelry designer Christian Evans – would walk away from the show if she could do it without putting all the people on her staff out of work, added the source.

“Ricki is depressed and wants out,” said the source. “Nothing would make her happier.”