The legendary comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres announced on Tuesday that she is ending her eponymous talk show after nineteen years.
“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 told The Hollywood Reporter.
“Although all good things must come to an end, you still have hope that truly great things never will,” added Warner Bros.’ unscripted TV president Mike Darnell, who said he was trying to get DeGeneres to reconsider as recently as the end of last month. He went on to describe her eponymous series “an absolute phenomenon,” having established itself over nearly two decades on air “as the premier destination for both superstars and incredible heartfelt human-interest stories.”
For DeGeneres, ending the show had been a long time coming.
“I was going to stop after season 16,” she explained. “That was going to be my last season, and they wanted to sign for four more years and I said I’d sign maybe for one. They were saying there was no way to sign for one. ‘We can’t do that with the affiliates and the stations need more of a commitment.’ So, we [settled] on three more years, and I knew that would be my last. That’s been the plan all along. And everybody kept saying, even when I signed, ‘You know, that’s going to be 19, don’t you want to just go to 20? It’s a good number.’ So is 19.”
Despite pressure to continue, DeGeneres said she never wavered.
“When we did our 3,000th show, they showed that highlights montage and everybody was emotional,” she said. “We all hugged and everyone had tears in their eyes, and Mike Darnell was here going, ‘You really want to [end this]?’ Look, it’s going to be really hard on the last day, but I also know it’s time.”
In the end, DeGeneres said that while she has enjoyed her show, being the “be kind” lady has had its drawbacks.
“I remember years and years ago, my girlfriend at the time and I were taking our dog to be put down,” she said. “We’re crying as we bring our dog in and this woman was so excited to see me and she wants me to say something funny and I’m like, my dog is dying. It was just the most awkward situation but that’s the extreme of what I’m talking about. And I did address it in my standup special. Like, I can’t honk my horn at anybody. God forbid someone cuts me off. No, they got to look at me dancing. Anyway, that’s the reality of all of it and I have to look at every single thing as a lesson and throw away the stuff that I know I can’t control.”