Following a year of declining ratings and behind-the-scenes controversies, Ellen DeGeneres is pulling the plug on Ellen. Currently in the midst of season 18, DeGeneres revealed that the upcoming 19th season will also serve as the final season of the long-running talk show. The decision reportedly comes straight from DeGeneres, who will discuss the situation in an interview with Oprah Winfrey on May 13's episode of Ellen.
"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. I need something new to challenge me," Ellen DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter of her decision. She also claimed that the choice to end the show after 19 seasons had been "the plan all along," suggesting that ending Ellen has nothing to do with the controversy that the show was deeply embroiled in last year.
"I was going to stop after season 16. That was going to be my last season and they wanted to sign for four more years and I said I'd sign for maybe for one," DeGeneres explains. "They were saying there was no way to sign for one. 'We can't do that with the affiliates and the stations need more of a commitment.' So, we [settled] on three more years and I knew that would be my last. That's been the plan all along. And everybody kept saying, even when I signed, 'You know, that's going to be 19, don't you want to just go to 20? It's a good number.' So is 19."
Of the toxic workplace allegations that plagued the show in 2020, Ellen added: "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. So, it's not why I'm stopping but it was hard because I was sitting at home, it was summer, and I see a story that people have to chew gum before they talk to me and I'm like, 'Okay, this is hilarious.' Then I see another story of some other ridiculous thing and then it just didn't stop."
Last summer, BuzzFeed News published stories from former employees of Ellen detailing a "toxic workplace." Things looked even worse when celebrities like Brad Garrett and Lea Thompson backed up these claims, with the former referring to Ellen's alleged mistreatment of others as "common knowledge." After an internal investigation, three executives were fired, and DeGeneres moved forward with the show's 18th season months later. In March, it was reported that the show had lost its viewership by more than a million viewers since the season's premiere.
As for what's next for DeGeneres, the soon-to-be former talk show host doesn't yet have an answer. While filming a sitcom "seems like a walk in the park" compared to the talk show, DeGeneres seems more keen on getting involved in movies, with her current schedule preventing her from accepting any major roles. She also says she's going to be opening up her campus in Rwanda next year to be "more involved with conservation" and helping the environment.
You can hear DeGeneres herself explain the decision to end Ellen more thoroughly when she speaks with Oprah Winfrey on May 13's episode. This news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.