“I’m announcing that next season, Season 19, is going to be my last season. So, the past 18 years, you have to know, has changed my life,” she said Wednesday, taping the opening of the May 13 episode. “You all have changed my life and I am forever grateful to all of you for watching, for laughing, for dancing… sometimes crying. This show has been the greatest experience of my life, and I owe it all to you. Thank you.”
Early Wednesday morning, news leaked that the long-running talk show, which has been embroiled in controversy and toxic workplace accusations since last summer, will enter is final chapter. During her opening monologue, the Game of Games host and comedian shared that ending the talk show was a decision she meditated on for a while and said she knew that Season 19 would be her final one.
She then reflected on the number 19, jokingly tying her final season to the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote, and to potassium, which is number 19 on the periodic table. But beyond coincidences, the actress said had a feeling that it was time to move on.
“You may wonder why I’ve decided to end after 19 seasons. The truth is, I always trust my instincts,” she continued. “My instinct told me it’s time. As a comedian, I’ve always understood the importance of…timing. In all seriousness, I truly have felt like next season was the right time to end this amazing chapter.”
The talk show’s 2020-21 season has struggled with falling ratings since the beginning of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. Amid the Covid-19 crisis DeGeneres broadcast her daytime talker from home before returning to the studio in September without a live studio audience.
DeGeneres returned to the studio, her set became the subject of controversy as former and current employees accused Ellen of fostering and promoting a toxic workplace culture that included bullying, intimidation and racially charged microaggressions from bosses.
After the story broke, Warner Bros launched an internal investigation, leading to the exits of executive producers Ed Glavin, Kevin Leman and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman. Upon her return, DeGeneres addressed the allegations and apologized to her staff. Later in the fall, she welcomed back a limited number of live viewers.
Before the start of 2021, DeGeneres tested positive for Covid-19, bringing production to a halt. When she returned in January he shared details of the sickness.
While news of Ellen nearing its final moments marks an end of a chapter for DeGeneres, she has other projects in motion. In March she signed an exclusive multi-year deal with Discovery to produce natural history content across all platforms.
See her full opening monologue below.
Today is a big day. Next season is a big season. pic.twitter.com/Ii4m9IDuYv
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 13, 2021
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