Ellen Degeneres' daytime talk show will air its final original episode later this month, marking the end of its nearly two-decade-long reign on our screens.
The US comedian will present the NBC show for the last time on May 26, wrapping up her residency as TV's favorite dancing host after an impressive 19-season run. Episodes of Ellen will continue to air throughout the summer because of contractual commitments to various stations, with guest hosts expected to step in for the spunky 64-year-old in her absence.
Any excitement for the series finale, however, is perhaps overshadowed by the torrent of allegations that were made against Ellen two years ago.
In July 2020, Buzzfeed News published multiple articles in which a number of the comic's former employees accused her of running a toxic work environment behind the scenes. The ex-staff members, who chose to remain anonymous, alleged that some of The Ellen Show's executives had harassed them, adding that racist comments and microaggressions were tolerated backstage. Ellen has since apologized and vowed to do better, insisting that she was "disappointed to learn" of her higher-up staff's mistreatment of more junior employees.
In May 2021, she confirmed on Twitter that the Ellen DeGeneres show would be ending the following year.
Why is the Ellen show ending?
Contrary to the popular belief that Ellen is leaving because of the 2020 allegations, the talk show's expiration date has been in the pipeline for quite some time now. The Emmy-award-winner hinted that her resignation was on the horizon back in 2018, admitting that she doesn't find the gig challenging anymore in an interview for her Netflix special, Relatable.
"The talk show has been great, but I want to challenge myself," she said. "As much as I love the (weekday) show, it's so comfortable for me, nothing scares me about it ... and I just like to stay creative. That's really who I am at heart, a stand-up performer, and writing is everything to me."
In May 2021, she revealed that she had known since 2019 that the star-studded talk show was nearing its end.
"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," she told viewers. "I want you to know that I've thought a lot about this decision. I sat with it for a while. I meditated on it."
In an interview with the US morning show, Today, following the announcement, she addressed speculation that the recent controversy had influenced her decision to leave.
"If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year," she said.
"I really did think about not coming back, because it was devastating. It started with attacks on me and attacking everything that I stand for and believe in and built my career around. I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy."
Ellen also revealed that she had asked network bosses if she could host for just one more year, but was told that this wasn't an option.
"That was going to be my last season and they wanted to sign for four more years and I said I’d sign for maybe for one. They were saying there was no way to sign for one," she told the Hollywood Reporter.
What guests will be on the last episode of Ellen?
The last episode of Ellen on May 26, 2022, will treat viewers to an impressive line-up of A-list stars, with singers Billie Eilish and Pink confirmed to join the spunky host for her final curtain call. Jennifer Aniston, who was the first guest to ever appear on the show back in September 2003, will also appear.
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Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.
Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.
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