Ellen DeGeneres’ popular talkshow to end after 19 seasons, but why is she ending it now?

Here's what you need to know

Ellen DeGeneres
(Image credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage)

The Ellen DeGeneres Show has had viewers laughing and crying in equal measure with its blend of real-life stories and celebrity interviews, but now, after 19 years, it’s all coming to an end. 

Ellen DeGeneres has now announced that the popular self-titled talkshow’s 19th season will be its last. This comes after what has been a turbulent time, when the Ellen DeGeneres Show found itself at the centre of a controversy last year after allegations were made about the environment on set and the conduct of some of those involved in the show. Since then Ellen has spoken out, addressing the claims and explaining how they have been taken incredibly seriously. 

Since then, the Ellen DeGeneres Show has continued, though Ellen has now taken the decision to end the hit talkshow after one last entertaining season. 

Why is the Ellen DeGeneres Show ending?

In a moving opening to her show shared on Twitter this week, Ellen revealed that the next season of the Ellen DeGeneres Show will be the last. After discussing all the wonderful moments the show has given her, she explained: “Two years ago, I signed a deal for three more years and I always knew in my heart that season 19 would be my last. “19 is a great number.” 

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Ellen went on to describe how her instinct told her it was time to end the show, saying: “As a comedian, I have always understood the importance of timing. And in all seriousness, I truly have felt like next season was the right time to end this amazing chapter.”

This came as she opened up even further on the reasons behind her decision. The comedian recently spoke candidly to The Hollywood Reporter to discuss the reasoning behind her decision to end the Ellen DeGeneres show and what projects she is looking forward to tackling next.

According to the outlet, Ellen's staff was made aware of the news on May 11 and it’s believed Ellen's wife Portia de Rossi, who was rushed to hospital earlier this year, has been encouraging the host to explore new avenues for some time.   

Ellen told the publication: "I care about the environment. I care about animals. I care about design and furniture … So, definitely, people have been saying, 'Why don’t we just try to go a little longer?' But 19 years is a long time to do anything.”

“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”, she also shared. 

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When did Ellen start her show?

Ellen DeGeneres first started The Ellen DeGeneres Show back in 2003 and has now broadcast more than 3,000 episodes, attracting thousands of fans across the world. The show features a balance of interviews, comedy and human interest stories, though Ellen first made her name as a stand-up comedian and for her Ellen sitcom in the 1990s. 

What is the Ellen controversy?

The Ellen DeGeneres Show was at the centre of a huge controversy last year after allegations that it had a “toxic workplace environment” were made. Multiple employees came forward to claim that they experienced bullying, microaggressions and racism on set. Their anonymous revelations came to the attention of viewers after they were published by BuzzFeed News. An investigation was launched by WarnerMedia following the claims. 

Several of the show’s producers later issued a statement to E! News, declaring, "We are truly heartbroken and sorry to learn that even one person in our production family has had a negative experience. It's not who we are and not who we strive to be, and not the mission Ellen has set for us."

"For the record, the day to day responsibility of the Ellen show is completely on us," the statement added. "We take all of this very seriously and we realize, as many in the world are learning, that we need to do better, are committed to do better, and we will do better."

It was later reported that three top producers on the show had been fired amid claims of misconduct. Ellen DeGeneres, who has always prided herself on her show being a place of kindness and positivity, later broke her silence as she opened her show’s 18th season. 

“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 should never have happened. I take that very seriously,” she explained. 

“And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know 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.”

Ellen went on to add, “We have made the necessary changes. And today we are starting a new chapter.”

Though this was the first public reference the popular host had made to the allegations, she also apologized in a letter to staff back in July 2020. In the letter, published by The Hollywood Reporter, she said she was “committed to ensuring this does not happen again.”

What happened in Ellen’s Dakota Johnson interview?   

As one of the most widely talked about moments in the Ellen DeGeneres Show’s history, it’s perhaps no surprise that Ellen’s Dakota Johnson interview is continuing to gain massive attention online in the light of the show’s ending announcement. During the interview Ellen asked the actor how her 30th birthday party was as she hadn’t been invited, to which Dakota firmly replied, “Actually no. That's not the truth, Ellen. You were invited.”

After an awkward exchange between the two, Ellen went on to admit during a back and forth with a crew-member that she likely had been invited, but had only remembered that now.

“I was invited? Why didn't I go? Oh yeah, I had that thing. It was probably in Malibu. That's too far for me to go to. I think I do remember I was invited. Thank you! But I really didn't remember that until just now,” she said. 

Following the news that the show is ending, Ellen’s 2019 interview with Dakota is once again resurfacing on social media. Some fans speculate that this particular moment could possibly have played a part in changing people’s perceptions of the star. 

The Ellen DeGeneres Show will draw to a close with season 19 and it’s thought the final episode will air in spring 2022. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!