Ellen Degeneres is quitting her daytime talk show after her upcoming 19th season.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the decision fell to Ellen and has been been several years in the making. She informed her staff May 11, and will sit down with iconic talk show host Oprah Winfrey to discuss the news on Ellen‘s May 13 show.
“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,” Ellen told THR.
Ellen’s wife urged her to quit, while the studio encouraged her to re-sign
The former American Idol judge has been thinking of ending the show for a few years now. In a 2018 New York Times profile, according to THR, she revealed that her actress wife, Portia de Rossi, had been encouraging her to leave the 180-shows-a-year grind, while her comedian brother, along with executives at Warner Bros., had urged her to continue. Eventually, Ellen signed on for three more seasons, but was clear with herself and her team that this contract would be her last. In all, Ellen will have completed 3,000 shows and more than 2,400 celebrity interviews.
“Although all good things must come to an end, you still have hope that truly great things never will,” says Warner Bros.’ Unscripted TV President Mike Darnell, who as recently as late April was still encouraging Ellen to re-sign. He calls her series “an absolute phenomenon,” having established itself over nearly two decades on air “as the premiere destination for both superstars and incredible heartfelt human-interest stories.”
“Ellen was and is an indelible piece of the television landscape, and it will be sorely missed,” he told THR. However, Ellen will remain attached to Warner Bros. She produces several unscripted shows for the company including, Fox’s The Masked Dancer, NBC’s Ellen’s Game of Games and HBO Max’s Ellen’s Next Great Designer.
NBCUniversal Local president Valari Staab, whose stations air the show, describes Ellen as “an iconic American TV program” and its host as “a trailblazer and a one-of-a-kind talent.”
Ellen’s decision comes after a year filled with controversy
The bombshell news comes after a year filled with controversy. News reports described a toxic workplace, full of racist and sexual harassment. The controversy prompted an internal investigation and the firing of several producers. The embattled hosted opened season 18 with a lengthy apology. After the highly rated premier, however, the show’s ratings took a tumble.
“When we did our 3,000th show, they showed that highlights montage and everybody was emotional. We all hugged and everyone had tears in their eyes, and Mike Darnell was here going, ;You really want to [end this]?’ Ellen told THR. “Look, it’s going to be really hard on the last day, but I also know it’s time. I’m a creative person, and when you’re a creative person you constantly need to be challenged, which is why I decided to host the Oscars or why I decided to go back to stand up when I didn’t think I would. I just needed something to challenge me. 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.”