Out lesbian talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is stepping away from her daytime show after 19 years on the air.
Within days of announcing the decision to staffers, the former LGBTQ queen of daytime television also told the Hollywood Reporter that Oprah Winfrey, who left her own show in 2011, is slated to join DeGeneres in discussing her departure to thousands of viewers on Thursday, May 13. The show, which recently hit a milestone of 3,000 episodes, is slated to end in 2022.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres is leaving her show because she felt stuck.
“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, 63, told The Hollywood Reporter.
This announcement coincides with several allegations against the show’s producers and management for fostering a toxic work environment. Last year, Warner Bros. led an investigation into accusations of racism, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct, resulting in the firings of several producers. During the pandemic, DeGeneres, who is married to actress Portia de Rossi, was already facing heat for a tweet comparing the couple’s quarantine to jail — and the allegations further soiled her reputation.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres said the experience of ex-employees saddens her.
“The culture today is one where you can’t learn and grow, which is, as human beings, what we’re here to do,” DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter. “And I can see people looking at that going, ‘You don’t care about what people [went through].’ 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.”
The ex-talk show host’s rise to fame began in stand-up comedy, and later she made history after coming out as gay in a 1997 episode of her 90s television sitcom, “Ellen.” However, with her long-running talk show behind her, DeGeneres is unsure what is next but is confident that she is ready for something new.
“My agent is just like, ‘Why don’t you just sit still for a minute. You probably don’t even know how exhausted you are and what it’s going to be like to sit still,'” she told the Hollywood Reporter. “I don’t know how long I’ll be able to do that because I’m like a Ferrari in neutral.” She added, “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.”
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