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Going out with a bang: ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ final guests include Michelle Obama

Ellen DeGeneres wearing a gray suit against a blue background
The finale of Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk series will air May 26.
(NBCU photo bank via Getty Images)
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Ellen DeGeneres is pulling out all the celebrity stops for the final episodes of her daytime talk series.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama, tennis phenom Serena Williams, veteran comedian David Letterman and reality TV star Kim Kardashian are just a few of the guests set to appear on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” ahead of the series finale, Warner Bros. Television Group announced Wednesday. The last episode will air May 26 on NBC.

Also on the itinerary are model Behati Prinsloo and singers Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine, as well as actors Jennifer Garner, Channing Tatum, Zac Efron, Diane Keaton and Portia de Rossi, the TV host’s wife of 14 years. According to Warner Bros., the returning guests will pay tribute to DeGeneres while reminiscing about their favorite moments on the show.

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What the talk show host said in Thursday’s exit interviews only prolonged the controversy around her, raising the question: What will she do next?

May 14, 2021

Since premiering in September 2003, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has aired more than 3,200 episodes over 19 seasons and amassed a whopping 64 Daytime Emmy Awards. In May 2021, nearly a year after employees of the program reported a toxic work environment on set, DeGeneres announced she would be ending her show.

The internal staff uprising prompted a televised apology from DeGeneres and the firings of three top producers, as well as a shift in public perception of the comedy hero, whose small-screen slogan is “Be kind to one another.” The Times has confirmed that DeGeneres recently gave final-season bonuses to her staff based on years of service.

“My whole being is about making people happy,” DeGeneres told the Hollywood Reporter in 2021. “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 Ellen DeGeneres Show” will end in 2022 with its 19th season after racking up thousands of episodes, dozens of Daytime Emmys and a huge scandal.

May 12, 2021

Despite the controversy, DeGeneres appears to have remained in the good graces of a number of her famous friends, some of whom leapt to her defense last year on social media. In recent months, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has continued to attract big names, from Jennifer Lopez to Halle Berry.

When DeGeneres spoke to the Hollywood Reporter last year about her plans for the future, . another TV show wasn’t high on her list.

“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.”

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