Yes, you heard it right. Ellen DeGeneres, one of daytime’s most recognizable faces, has decided to sign off from her talk show. Her upcoming season, which marks the 19th season of the show, will be the final season. The decision was several years in the making. DeGeneres informed her staff on May 11 about the show ending. She will be discussing the news on her show on May 13, where she will sit down with friend and daytime icon Oprah Winfrey.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 63-years old addressed the issue for the first time in public.“When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged. As great and fun as this show is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” she said.
While news of the show ending was always around the corner, nobody was sure exactly when it would happen. Not even Ellen. In a 2018 New York Times interview, she had said that Portia de Rossi, her wife, had been encouraging her to move on from the show. Her brother and executives at Warner Bros. had, however, persisted in her to continue. DeGeneres had decided to sign on for three more seasons but was adamant with herself and her team that this contract would be the last one. The show now has more than 3,000 episodes and 2,400 star-studded interviews.
Mike Darnell, the unscripted TV president of Warner Bros., said that even though all good things must come to an end, you still have hope that the truly unique things don’t. So he was still convincing DeGeneres to reconsider as recently as last April. He refers to the show as “an absolute phenomenon,” and after two decades of airing, a “premier destination for superstars, and heartfelt human-interest stories.”
The last year had seen its fair share of controversy for the show and Ellen. One personal story after another hit the news, which DeGeneres said “destroyed” her. As if that wasn’t enough, a BuzzFeed News exposé published in July brought out allegations that she was running a toxic workplace. DeGeneres claimed that she’d learned about the Buzzfeed article through the press and had immediately called for an internal investigation and the dismissal of executives involved. DeGeneres apologized to viewers on the opening episode of season 18 in September with a lengthy speech. “I learned that things happen here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously. And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected,” she said. The episode may have been Ellen’s highest-rated premiere in years, but viewership quickly deteriorated soon after, even as Hollywood’s popular favorites kept coming back.