It’s the end of an era: Ellen DeGeneres will end her daytime chat show next year.
“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 that her staff heard Tuesday.
“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 dozens of Daytime Emmy Awards.
Her brand took a serious hit last summer when DeGeneres and her producers faced unrest among staffers who alleged there was a toxic work environment on the “Ellen” set.
DeGeneres, 63, told THR that the drama around the show’s culture “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 had 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 sexual misconduct involving the show’s three top producers.
In August, after an internal investigation, executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman stepped down.
DeGeneres told THR that she had intended to quit after season 16, but decided to sign a contract for three more 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.
“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.”