News and Commentary

Ellen Degeneres To End Talk Show, Blasts Culture Where People Can’t ‘Learn And Grow’ From Mistakes
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 15: 2020 E! PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS -- In this image released on November 15, Ellen DeGeneres accepts the award for The Daytime Talk Show of 2020 onstage for the 2020 E! People's Choice Awards held at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California and on broadcast on Sunday, November 15, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Polk/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Christopher Polk/E! Entertainment/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres will end her show in 2022, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter.

After its nineteenth season on the air, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” will end. THR reported that the decision was years in the making and employees of the show were told about it on May 11. Degeneres will discuss the show’s end with Oprah Winfrey in an episode that will air on May 13.

After 180 shows broadcasted per year, Degeneres said she is ready for something different. “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 THR. 

Degeneres had considered leaving the show in the past and ultimately decided to stay on for a few more seasons. Warner Bros.’ Unscripted TV President Mike Darnell was encouraging Degeneres to keep going with it as recently as late last month, but she is ready to step away.

Darnell said, “Although all good things must come to an end, you still have hope that truly great things never will.” He called her show “an absolute phenomenon,” having positioned itself over almost twenty years on television “as the premiere destination for both superstars and incredible heartfelt human-interest stories.”

Degeneres told THR that her wife, Portia de Rossi, encouraged her to quit the show though her brother wanted her to continue. 

“[My brother has] always been my biggest advocate and, not that Portia isn’t, but she’s also selfish and wants me to do things that I’m challenged by, and she’s watched me come home every day saying, ‘I just feel like there’s something more I could be doing,’” Degeneres said. 

“I care about the environment. I care about animals. I care about design and furniture … So, definitely, people have been saying, ‘Why don’t we just try to go a little longer?’ But 19 years is a long time to do anything.”

NBCUniversal Local president Valari Staab, whose stations air the show, described the series as “an iconic American TV program” and Degeneres as “a trailblazer and a one-of-a-kind talent.”

Although light-hearted in nature, the show was not without controversy. Degeneres received criticism last year over reports about a toxic workplace surrounding the talk show. 

The Daily Wire reported that in July 2020, one employee and 10 former employees of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” came forward with accusations that the environment of the show behind the scenes was far from the show’s motto, “Be Kind.” 

The Daily Wire reported:

The employees spoke to Buzzfeed News, which delineated various charges that were made. One former employee asserted, “That ‘be kind’ bulls*** only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show. I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.” Another bitter comment, “I think it is a lot of smoke and mirrors when it comes to the show’s brand. They pull on people’s heartstrings; they do know that’s going to get likes and what people are going to go for, which is a positive message. But that’s not always reality.” 

Some of the accusations included insensitive comments about race, being fired after returning from a month-long absence at a mental health facility, and receiving a warning after creating and publicizing a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for medical costs that weren’t covered by the show’s health insurance.

At the end of July, Buzzfeed News reported, “According to dozens of men and women who work behind the scenes, the office is a place where sexual harassment and misconduct by top executive producers runs rampant.” 

“The claims cost DeGeneres 1.1 million viewers who stopped watching the show over the last year, according to Nielsen data released in March. Her viewership was up to 2.6 million at one point but is now down to 1.5 million viewers,” the Daily Mail reported.

Degeneres discussed the allegations with THR. She was asked about how that chapter impacted her, the show, and the decision to call it quits. 

Degeneres said, “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. 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.”

Degeneres went on to say, “My whole being is about making people happy. And with the talk show, all I cared about was spreading kindness and compassion and everything I stand for was being attacked. So, it destroyed me, honestly. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. And it makes me really sad that there’s so much joy out there from negativity. It’s a culture now where there are just mean people, and it’s so foreign to me that people get joy out of that. Then, on the heels of it, there are allegations of a toxic workplace and, unfortunately, I learned that through the press.”

Degeneres said there was an internal investigation where the team “learned some things but this culture we’re living is [is one where] no one can make mistakes. And I don’t want to generalize because there are some bad people out there and those people shouldn’t work again but, in general, the culture today is one where you can’t learn and grow, which is, as human beings, what we’re here to do.”