After 19 years on the air, US talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres is reportedly ready to call it quits on her Emmy Award-winning TV show.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 62-year-old revealed The Ellen DeGeneres Show will end in 2022 because “as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore”.
And “when you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged,” she said.
Nineteen years of celebrities and dance breaks
The Ellen DeGeneres Show debuted in 2003 and has won more than 60 Emmy awards.
It has featured many big-name celebrities from former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, to actress Meryl Streep and singer John Legend.
The list is endless.
Dance breaks became a huge part of the show.
Degeneres said she was thinking about her next steps professionally.
“I have some ideas but my agent is just like, ‘Why don’t you just sit still for a minute. You probably don’t even know how exhausted you are and what it’s going to be like to sit still.’
“I wouldn’t have thought I was ever going to do a talk show when I stopped doing movies and sitcoms. I thought that that was the only path.
“And then all of a sudden there was a talk show that took me on this 19-year journey.”
Accusations of bullying and a ‘hostile workplace’
The news comes almost a year after Ellen became the subject of an internal investigation by WarnerMedia.
It followed reports of backstage turmoil including allegations of a hostile workplace, bullying, sexual misconduct and racism.
DeGeneres received an onslaught of negative comments from ex-employees, who took to social media to air their grievances at her.
Comedian Kevin Porter went so far as to call DeGeneres, who has long been one of television’s most beloved personalities, “one of the meanest people alive”.
DeGeneres said she was impacted by all the drama surrounding her show, but that wasn’t why it was coming to an end.
“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,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.
She said she even found some of the allegations levelled against her to be “hilarious”.
“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.
But the controversy ultimately undermined the show’s public message of spreading kindness and happiness, prompting the Nine Network in Australia to pull the show in September.
As a result of the WarnerMedia investigation, three top senior producers were fired and Ellen was forced to apologise both internally and publicly.
She claimed she was mostly unaware of the unhealthy environment.
The trickiness of being the ‘Be Kind Lady’
Wearing jeans and a pale pink jacket, DeGeneres said she was “so sorry to the people affected” and wanted to clarify her “Be Kind Lady” tag.
“Being known as the Be Kind Lady is a tricky position to be in … the truth is I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things, sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated. I get impatient and I am working on all of that,” she said at the time.
But according to former workers who spoke to Buzzfeed, the apology missed the mark.
Then in December, filming of the show came to a sudden stop after the star tested positive for the coronavirus.
DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter that one of the most difficult parts of her decision to end her show is that she will miss her staff.
“Listen, this is my family. They’ve become my best friends,” she said.
“I come to work and I laugh every single day.”
DeGeneres will discuss the decision on Thursday’s show with guest Oprah Winfrey, the entertainment publication said.