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The Real Reason The Ellen DeGeneres Show Is Ending After Season 19

Since her self-titled talk show debuted in 2003, comedian Ellen DeGeneres has become a household name around the world. Following along a similar path that other TV greats like Oprah Winfrey took, DeGeneres built a sprawling brand that far exceeded the confines of the show itself. And now, it's time to bring it to an end. After nearly 20 years on air, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" will conclude with its 19th season.

DailyMail.com broke the news publicly on May 11, the same day DeGeneres informed her staff of the series' impending end. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed with DeGeneres that Season 19 will be the final one of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and is set to air sometime in 2022.

This is sure to be a blow to many, as DeGeneres garnered a massive fanbase first as a comedic actress, especially in the '90s sitcom "Ellen," and then as a daytime talk show host. She's also earned respect for coming out as lesbian back in 1997, when the announcement earned unfair backlash and threatened her career. 

That said, however, it's not too surprising to hear that "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" is nearing its end. Here's why Season 19 will be the series' last.

The decision to end The Ellen DeGeneres Show

On May 11, 2021, the Hollywood Reporter detailed that the decision to bring "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" to an end has "been several years in the making," and that DeGeneres had the final say in the matter. DeGeneres spoke candidly with the Hollywood Reporter about why she decided to make Season 19 the show's final one. As it turns out, this has been the plan for several years now.

"I was going to stop after Season 16. 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. ... So, we [settled] on three more years and I knew that would be my last. That's been the plan all along," DeGeneres explained. 

She went on to explain that the talk show doesn't challenge her anymore, and that she's ready to take on new opportunities. "It's going to be really hard on the last day, but I also know it's time. I'm a creative person, and when you're a creative person you constantly need to be challenged, which is why I decided to host the Oscars or why I decided to go back to stand up when I didn't think I would. I just needed something to challenge me," said DeGeneres. "And as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it's just not a challenge anymore. I need something new to challenge me."

Did the toxic workplace allegations play a part in this decision?

In 2020, allegations surfaced that Ellen DeGeneres created a toxic workplace environment for staff, earning her some of the biggest controversy in her career and causing many to view both DeGeneres and her show in a different light. Viewership ratings for "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" have since plummeted. According to the New York Times, the series had a spike in ratings when DeGeneres opened Season 18 with a public apology in September 2020, then lost a million viewers from there. Between September 2020 and March 2021, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" was pulling in an average of 2.6 million fewer viewers than it did in the same timeframe a year prior (via the New York Times).

Speaking with the Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres admitted that the allegations "almost impacted the show" in that she considered not returning at all. However, she made it clear that the controversy isn't why she's ending the show — the two situations aren't intertwined.

"It was very hurtful to me. I mean, very. But if I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn't have come back this season. So, it's not why I'm stopping but it was hard," she said. "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. And it makes me really sad that there's so much joy out there from negativity."

DeGeneres continued, "There was an internal investigation, obviously, and we learned some things. ... I care tremendously. It broke my heart when I learned that people here had anything other than a fantastic experience — that people were hurt in any way. ... We've all learned from things that we didn't realize — or I didn't realize — were happening. I just want people to trust and know that I am who I appear to be."

Ellen DeGeneres will miss her talk show when it's over

With over 3,000 episodes in the series' backlog, there are literally thousands of hours of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" for viewers to watch, and those who have tune in from the beginning have founded a deep dedication to the comedian and actress. To millions of people, she's simply "Ellen," a friend to check in with each episode. DeGeneres wants fans to know that she'll deeply miss connecting with her audience every weekday, and that she's grateful for their love and support. But in the end, this is the only way forward for DeGeneres.

"I wouldn't have thought I was ever going to do a talk show when I stopped doing movies and sitcoms. I thought that that was the only path. And then all of a sudden there was a talk show that took me on this 19-year journey," DeGeneres told the Hollywood Reporter. "This is my family. They've become my best friends. I come to work and I laugh every single day. ... I'm so proud of this show. It's the best thing I've ever done in my life. And so I'll miss everything but, in my gut, I know it's time to do something different."