Ellen DeGeneres’ long-running syndicated daytime talk show is coming to an end this year after 19 seasons.
The talk show host told The Hollywood Reporter that she informed her employees of the decision on Tuesday and will sit down with Oprah Winfrey on Thursday to discuss the news.
“If you’re a creative person, you have to be constantly challenged — and as great as this show is, and as much fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” DeGeneres told the trade publication.
The announcement also comes after reports of a toxic work culture, discrimination and sexual harassment on the show over the past year. At that point, she acknowledged that the atmosphere had evolved into something that didn’t match the values she started the show with, and vowed to do better.
“It almost had an impact on the show,” Ellen told THR. “It was very painful for me. I mean, very bad. But if that’s why I stopped the show, I wouldn’t have come back this season.”
The backlash took its toll on the show’s ratings. however. While the season opener had the highest rating of an “Ellen” premiere in four years, the show has lost more than a million viewers since September. According to Nielsen data, the program averaged about 1.5 million viewers between September and March, up from 2.6 million in the same period last year.
DeGeneres, 63, has been a pioneer for the LGBTQ community since her Time magazine cover story “Yep, I’m Gay” nearly torpedoed her career in 1997. Since she started “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the comedian has collected more than 64 Daytime Emmys and helped normalize the representation of gay people on television.
In the Hollywood Reporter interview, DeGeneres said she planned to end the show after season 16, but agreed to extend her contract for another three years.
“That’s always been the plan,” she said.
It appears that DeGeneres will continue to host “Ellen’s Game of Games,” a series based on the game segments from her daytime talk show, which airs on NBC.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal, CNBC’s parent company, publishes episodes of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”