Ellen DeGeneres won’t be dancing on your TV screen much longer.
In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the comedian and longtime talk show host has announced that Ellen’s upcoming 19th season will be its last. She says the decision was several years in the making and that she informed her staff on May 11 about the change.
“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 said.
Ellen will chat with talk show icon Oprah Winfrey on her Thursday episode about her decision to call it quits. Conversations around her finishing the show sparked in 2018, when she previously told the New York Times that those around her—including wife Portia de Rossi—encouraged her to end her run, while her comedian brother and executives urged her otherwise. She eventually signed on for a final three seasons.
“Although all good things must come to an end, you still have hope that truly great things never will,” Warner Bros’ Unscripted TV President Mike Darnell told THR.
Of course, Ellen’s departure comes months after a Buzzfeed expose which detailed a toxic work environment on the set of the talk show and led to the removal of show executives. Despite the impact that had on the host and public perception of her and the show, she claims it didn’t lead to the decision to end things entirely.
“It almost impacted the show,” Ellen shared. “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 because I was sitting at home, it was summer, and I see a story that people have to chew gum before they talk to me and I’m like, “Okay, this is hilarious.” Then I see another story of some other ridiculous thing and then it just didn’t stop. And I wasn’t working, so I had no platform, and 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.”
The comedian explained in the interview that her options are open for her next steps, and that working on a scripted show would be a “walk in the park” compared to the talk show cycle she’s been doing for years.
“I don’t know if that’s really what I want to do next, but movies for sure,” she shared. “If there were a great role, I’d be able to do that, which I’m not able to do now. I’m opening up my campus in Rwanda next year and I want to be more involved with conservation and everything that matters to me as far as the environment and animals.”
This story is being updated.