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Ellen DeGeneres is ending her talk show after turbulent year that ‘destroyed’ her

Ellen DeGeneres in a sparkly black jacket.
Ellen DeGeneres told her staff Tuesday that her show will end in 2022.
(Chris Pizzello / Associated Press)

It’s the end of an era: Ellen DeGeneres will wrap up her daytime talk show next year after nearly 20 years on the air.

“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,” the comedian and host told the Hollywood Reporter in a story published Wednesday, confirming news her staff heard Tuesday.

The trade paper said DeGeneres would invite daytime veteran Oprah Winfrey onto DeGeneres’ show Thursday to discuss her decision to call it quits. Savannah Guthrie tweeted Wednesday morning that she would also interview DeGeneres for Thursday’s “Today” show.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” premiered in 2003 with actor Jennifer Aniston and singer Macy Gray as guests; to date, it has run for more than 4,400 episodes and won 62 Daytime Emmy Awards, including a dozen for best daytime talk show or daytime talk show in the entertainment arena.

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DeGeneres’ “be kind” brand took a serious hit last summer when she and her producers faced unrest among staffers who alleged there was a toxic work environment on the “Ellen” set.

The “Ellen” scandal has gripped us in part because it’s so familiar: From “Larry Sanders” to “The Morning Show,” TV sees itself as an awful place to work.

DeGeneres, 63, told THR that the drama around the show’s culture had “destroyed” her.

“My whole being is about making people happy,” she said. “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.”

The host addressed the situation in her season-opening monologue in September, saying: “As you may have heard, this summer, there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show, and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”

“I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show,” she continued.

Allegations culminated in a July BuzzFeed story alleging instances of intimidation of current and former employees. Some crew members complained that they were abandoned during the COVID-19 production shutdown last spring. A second report detailed instances of alleged sexual misconduct involving the show’s three top producers.

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In August, after an internal investigation, executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman stepped down.

In Monday’s Season 18 premiere of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the host apologized for the misconduct allegations that dogged her show all summer.

DeGeneres told THR that she had intended to quit after Season 16 but decided to sign a contract for three additional years instead.

As for the future, the comic says she’s up for a return to acting, in addition to doing more work to benefit animals and the environment.

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“A sitcom seems like a walk in the park compared to this, 180 shows a year. I don’t know if that’s really what I want to do next, but movies for sure,” DeGeneres said. “If there were a great role, I’d be able to do that, which I’m not able to do now.”

Representatives for DeGeneres and the show did not respond immediately to The Times’ requests for comment.

Times staff writer Nardine Saad contributed to this report.


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