“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” will soon no longer be dancing across TV screens.
Ellen DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview Wednesday that she plans to end her long-running talk show after 19 seasons next May.
“When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged – and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” DeGeneres told the magazine. The comedian, 63, said that the daytime series would end after the upcoming 2021-2022 season.
USA TODAY confirmed the news. DeGeneres will address her decision in her monologue for Wednesday’s broadcast.
“Although all good things must come to an end, you still have hope that truly great things never will,” Mike Darnell, president of “Ellen ” producer Warner Bros.’ Unscripted TV, told THR.
The move doesn’t come as a huge surprise considering the age and cost of the series. DeGeneres’s lucrative contract – she is said to make at least $50 million a year– also expires next May, and she has spoken publicly in the past about potentially ending the show, including in a controversial 2018 New York Time profile. The ratings for the show have also tumbled 43% this season, averaging 1.4 million viewers, from 2.5 million at this point last season.
Every talk show is down in the ratings this season, but “Ellen” saw a far bigger decline since she was embroiled in controversy in 2020 after allegations of toxic workplace conditions and mistreatment. Three executive producers were ousted as a result of an internal workplace review. DeGeneres apologized privately to her staffers and publicly on air last September.
She said in the THR interview that her decision to end the show was unrelated to last summer’s allegations. “It almost impacted the show. It was very hurtful to me. I mean, very. But if I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn’t have come back this season,” she said. (Nonetheless, local stations around the contract have contracts guaranteeing the show through 2022)
Debuting on Sept. 8, 2003, “Ellen” became a cultural mainstay on syndicated daytime TV. Over its life it has won 61 Daytime Emmy Awards and 17 People’s Choice Awards. DeGeneres was known for her “be kind” mentality and tone, her frequent dancing and silly games with her guests and audience members and memorable celebrity gags and interviews.
“I learned that things happened 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. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show,” she said at the start of the series’ 18th season last fall.
Some of the allegations suggested DeGeneres’ offscreen behavior was responsible for the toxic environment, and that she wasn’t the kind person she appeared to be on television.
“Being known as the ‘be-kind lady’ is a tricky position to be in,” she said. “The truth is I am that person you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient. And I am working on all of that, and I’m especially working on the impatience thing. And it’s not going well, because it’s not happening fast enough.”
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