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Ellen DeGeneres Ending Talk Show, Claims She Is No Longer 'Challenged'

Ellen Degeneres

The decision follows troubling reports of a toxic work environment and sexual misconduct.

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Ellen DeGeneres is signing off of daytime television.

The groundbreaking but, as of late, controversy-laden talk show host told The Hollywood Reporter that the 19th season of The Ellen DeGeneres Show will be her last.

"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.

The move follows news of a dip in ratings and an explosive July 2020 report in BuzzFeedNews detailing a toxic workplace. In it, several former employees leveled sexual misconduct allegations at top staffers, including executive producer and head writer Kevin Leman, who allegedly asked a male employee for a hand job or oral sex.

The expose sparked an investigation at WarnerMedia and an apology from the host, who vowed to do better and said the reports were not in line with the workplace ethos she created when the show premiered in 2003. DeGeneres had developed a brand as the "Queen of Nice" due to the show's initial embrace of elements like dancing and games with audience members and guests.

"On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that The Ellen DeGeneres Show would be a place of happiness -- no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect. Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case," DeGeneres said in a statement last year.

After the apology, the show's season 18 plummeted by over 1 million viewers in ratings, from 2.6 million to 1.5 million, according to Nielsen, representing a 43 percent decline.

It was not the only controversy to rock DeGeneres's show in recent years, particularly within the LGBTQ+ community. The talk show host drew heat in 2019 for saying she "forgives" Kevin Hart in the wake of his resurfaced antigay tweets, which cost Hart the opportunity to host the Oscars that year. Photos of DeGeneres looking chummy with George W. Bush at a football game also sparked ire.

DeGeneres told her staff of the decision Tuesday, reports THR, and will discuss the move in further detail with Oprah Winfrey Thursday on her talk show.

The comedian had been contemplating leaving daytime television for some time. In a 2018 profile in The New York Times, DeGeneres divulged that her wife, Portia De Rossi, had urged her to move on.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show has accrued scores of Emmys in its nearly two-decade run. At its onset, the show represented a remarkable rebirth for DeGeneres, whose sitcom Ellen was canceled after her 1997 coming-out. The lesbian comedian's role as a TV pioneer, who endured setbacks to find commercial success in Hollywood, garnered her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.