The long-running daytime talk show Ellen is coming to an end next year with its upcoming nineteenth season. In a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres explained her reasoning for deciding to wrap up, citing a belief that it is no longer challenging and that she has been encouraged by her wife Portia de Rossi to step back from the show for several years, but remained in part at the urging of her brother and executives from Warner Bros.
Her previous contract, signed in 2018, was for three additional seasons and got her up to a total of more than 3,000 shows and 2,400 celebrity interviews. The official decision to end was made by DeGeneres herself and involved letting her staff know yesterday and bringing in Oprah Winfrey as a guest on tomorrow’s show of Ellen to talk about her career. “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 expressed.
It’s been a long and mostly successful road for DeGeneres since she got her start on TV with the sitcom Ellen, a series that famously showed her character coming out as gay around the same time as DeGeneres did publicly on The Oprah Winfrey Show. In addition to serving as a host for numerous awards ceremonies, including the Oscars, Emmys, and Grammys, DeGeneres brought in a tremendous audience for her daytime talk show that began in 2003, produces 180 shows per year, and has won a whopping 64 Daytime Emmy Awards.
Negative press about DeGeneres and the work environment she created on set certainly threatened to affect both her career and the show, but DeGeneres dismissed any legitimacy to those claims, aside from her apparent discovery of certain problems uncovered during an internal investigation. About those reports, she commented, “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. And I wasn’t working, so I had no platform, and I didn’t want to address it on [Twitter] and I thought if I just don’t address it, it’s going to go away because it was all so stupid.”