After 18 seasons and over 3,000 episodes, Ellen DeGeneres is saying goodbye to her long-running talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. It seems as though the toxic workplace scandal marked the beginning of the end of her career.
“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,” DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, May 12.
According to an insider, the embattled host "has had enough and told her team that she's done."
"While we are disappointed, we are extremely supportive of Ellen’s decision to end her show next season,” Warner Bros. TV Group chairman Channing Dungey said. “Ellen once said that all she ever wanted to do was make people feel good and laugh, and she has accomplished that and so much more."
The outlet reported that her upcoming 19th season will be the last. "She's promised one more season after this one and will exit at the end of the 2021/2022 season," an insider dished, adding that "the ratings have tanked and have been truly appalling this year and Ellen knows her time is up."
The end of the once highly praised talk show comes after a slew of former and current employees accused DeGeneres last year of creating a toxic work environment. They alleged the 63-year-old turned a blind eye to the abuse and bullying by executives. "The show has bled viewers since the toxic environment around Ellen and her show was made public," the source continued.
However, DeGeneres insisted she didn't end the show because of the workplace allegations. "If I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn’t have come back this season," she claimed. "So, it’s not why I’m stopping."
DeGeneres explained she wanted to end the show after season 16; however, producers urged her to sign for four more years while she said she would sign on for maybe one more. In the end, "we [settled] on three more years and I knew that would be my last. That’s been the plan all along," the comedian said.
While reflecting on the initial toxic workplace claims, the talk-show host said she brushed off the first allegation, thinking it was "hilarious." Then, she saw "another story of some other ridiculous thing and then it just didn’t stop," she recalled.
DeGeneres found the allegations "very hurtful," and wasn't working on the show over the summer, so she couldn't address the scandal head-on. "I didn’t want to address it on [Twitter] and I thought if I just don’t address it, it’s going to go away because it was all so stupid," she candidly told the outlet.
She went on to claim that she found out about the toxic allegations "through the press." After the internal investigation, DeGeneres said, "it broke my heart when I learned that people here had anything other than a fantastic experience."
The comedian also addressed the "culture we’re living," insisting it is one where "no one can make mistakes." While recognizing that "there are some bad people out there and those people shouldn’t work again," DeGeneres urged our society to allow people to make mistakes and let them learn and grow from them, which is what human beings should be allowed to do, she said.
The show was off to a strong start when DeGeneres returned for the 18th season in September — following the workplace controversy — and addressed the recent scandal. However, it has been on a swift decline ever since.
According to Daily Mail, who broke the news prior to DeGeneres' official statement, ratings in New York City and Chicago are down 40%. She apparently lost 59% of viewership in Los Angeles, and ratings in Philly are down 32%. In addition, she lost 50% of her viewers in San Francisco. As OK! reported, the 2020-21 season reportedly brought in $105 million, which is $26 million less than the 2019-20 run, which earned $131 million from advertisers.
During the season premiere, DeGeneres acknowledged that she "learned that things happen here that never should have happened," before insisting that she took all the allegations "very seriously."
She candidly apologized to "the people who were affected" and recognized that she was in a "position of privilege and power, and I realize that with that comes responsibility. I take responsibility for what happens at my show," she said.
The claims made against DeGeneres and her talk show were brought to light last July by one current and 10 former employees, who accused three executive producers, Ed Glavin, Mary Connelly and Andy Lassner, of "bullying." All three executives have since been fired from the show.
Among the allegations, one Black woman claimed she suffered a number of "microaggressions," explaining her request for a raise was ignored. In addition, she was allegedly told she was "walking around looking resentful and angry" after she requested the staff undergo diversity and inclusion training.
Another former employee alleged they were fired for taking one month medical leave following a suicide attempt. Some of the claims made by multiple accusers were that the staff was instructed not to speak to DeGeneres and that senior executives would grope and kiss staffers behind the scenes.