Ellen DeGeneres is going off the air ― for now.
The comedian and longtime talk show host announced this week that she’d be ending “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” after its 19th season.
DeGeneres reportedly told her staff this week that the show would be coming to a close in 2022, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She’ll also be sitting down to chat with Oprah Winfrey about the news for the show’s May 13 broadcast.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres insisted that it was “the plan all along” to end at Season 19 and that “it’s time.”
“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,” she said.
The news comes in the wake of July 2020 reports of a “toxic” work culture on the show. BuzzFeed News spoke with 36 anonymous ex-staffers, all of whom shared stories of the improper treatment they experienced or witnessed on set. Three producers left the program amid the allegations of “sexual misconduct and racially insensitive remarks.”
After that report, Warner Bros. said parent company WarnerMedia launched an investigation that revealed “some flaws in the show’s daily management.” The studio also said it was “disappointed that the primary findings of the investigation indicated some deficiencies related to the show’s day-to-day management.”
Since the report, the show’s ratings have been in free fall. DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter that these allegations didn’t impact the show or the decision to end it, but that they “almost” did.
“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,” she said.
She said she had previously heard that “everyone here is so happy,” but learned after an investigation that that wasn’t the case.
“We learned some things but this culture we’re living is [is one where] no one can make mistakes,” she said. “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.”
The 63-year-old also added that she just wants “people to trust and know that I am who I appear to be.”
DeGeneres is slated to still be part of the Warner Bros. “fold” and reportedly hopes to act again in the future.
“If I never do anything else ever again, I’m so proud of what this show stood for and still stands for and what we’ve made it through,” she says.