Ellen DeGeneres is ending her daytime talk show after nearly 18 years.
The icon made the announcement in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that was published May 12. The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which garnered her a whopping 61 Daytime Emmy Awards throughout the years, will stop airing after this upcoming season, which will be its 19th.
"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," she told the publication.
Ellen is inviting Oprah Winfrey onto her show on May 13 to discuss her decision, so if fans want to hear more from her, they should tune in then.
The announcement might seem surprising, but it doesn't come out of the blue. In 2018, Ellen told The New York Times she had been considering leaving daytime TV. She told The Hollywood Reporter she had always "been clear with herself and her team" that the three-season contract she most recently signed with Warner Bros. "would be her last."
In the summer of 2020, a news report surfaced in which 10 former staffers of the show and one current employee detailed upsetting experiences they said they'd had at work. Warner Bros. launched an internal investigation, and Ellen apologized to employees via video conference in August. Three of the show's producers left the program at the same time.
Ellen later addressed the allegations in a monologue when the show's 18th season kicked off in September 2020.
"I learned that things happened here that never should have happened," she began. "I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.
"I know that I am in a position of privilege and power and I realize that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show."
Ellen told The Hollywood Reporter last year's events aren't why she's ending the show.
"It almost impacted the show," she said. "It was very hurtful to me. I mean, very. But if I was quitting this show because of that, I wouldn't have come back this season."
Through the years, viewers have tuned in to the show to be delighted by Ellen's uplifting monologues that open every show, and have enjoyed watching her dance moves, along with her notorious pranks on celebrity guests such as Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and more.
Ellen has also done lots over the years to encourage viewers to be kind to each other, and a 2015 poll found she had influenced and helped change Americans' views on LGBTQ+ rights "than any other celebrity or public figure." She also raised a whopping US$70 million for charities with the show, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and thrilled fans with giveaways.
As for what's next for Ellen, she said she's not sure yet, but would consider returning to movies and sitcoms if it felt right. She also has plans to open her campus of the Ellen DeGeneres Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Kinigi, Rwanda, in 2022. It aims to help the Dian Fossey Fund protect mountain gorillas, which are located in Volcanoes National Park in the country.
"I want to be more involved with conservation and everything that matters to me as far as environment and animals," she told The Hollywood Reporter.
Might we see her working more with Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan? Conservation is one of their priorities, and the Sussexes are Ellen and wife Portia de Rossi's neighbours now after their move to Montecito, Calif. last year.
In 2019, Ellen revealed she had met with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and had a conversation about environmental issues.
"Portia and I talked to them about all the conservation they are doing for wildlife," she said in a promotional clip for the 17th season of her show that year. "They are doing all this work in Botswana for elephants and I love that, and they like what I'm doing for the gorillas in Rwanda, so we're gonna all do something together."
But right now, Ellen said she just wants to take some time to "sit."
"I have some ideas [about what to do next] but 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. "And I don't know how long I'll be able to do that because I'm like a Ferrari in neutral. I'm constantly needing to go. So, that's my first challenge and I'm going to figure it out."