Ellen DeGeneres sadly let her staff know she was ending her talk show a day before going public with the news, E! News has learned.
On Wednesday, May 12, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the TV personality shared that the upcoming 19th season of the Emmy-winning Ellen DeGeneres Show, set to premiere in 2022, would be the series' last. She said, "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."
A source close to the matter told E! News that Ellen called for a last-minute all-staff meeting on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 11, and then broke the news about her departure. The talk show host "seemed very sad," the insider said.
"It's been an incredibly emotional week for Ellen," a source close to Ellen told E! News. "It was a very hard thing for her to tell her team."
Ellen plans to discuss the news of her upcoming talk show departure more on her series on Thursday, May 13, sitting down with longtime pal and daytime predecessor Oprah Winfrey. Earlier that morning, she will appear in an NBC Today show interview with Savannah Guthrie.
Still, Ellen's TV career will continue. She is working on new projects for HBO Max. Last month, her furniture design competition series Ellen's Next Great Designer premiered on the streaming network.
"Ellen will also be working on all her other shows," the source close to Ellen told E! News. "She also announced the Tig Notaro animated comedy special on HBO Max, NBC's Family Game Fight was announced two months ago, NBC's Ellen's Game of Games, FOX's Masked Dancer, etc. She also has a multi-year deal with Discovery—she has eight shows with Discovery."
The source also said Ellen also wants to take time and focus on "her love of endangered species and animals," including her work on "the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda."
News of The Ellen DeGeneres Show ending comes less than a year after three senior members of its production staff exited the series following an internal investigation of allegations of a "toxic work environment." Ellen first addressed the controversy in her season 18 premiere.
"I learned that things happened here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected," she said at the time. "We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter."
In her recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Ellen said the issue "almost impacted the show," adding, "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."
Ellen also told the outlet that there were moments where she did not want to return to her show because of the controversy. "When it started, with that stupid 'someone couldn't look me in the eye' or whatever the first thing was, it's like a crest of a wave," she said. "And then it just keeps getting bigger and bigger until it was out of control. And I really, honestly, felt like, 'I don't deserve this. I don't need this. I know who I am. I'm a good person.'"
She also addressed cancel culture. "This culture we're living [in is one where] no one can make mistakes," she said. "And I don't want to generalize because there are some bad people out there and those people shouldn't work again but, in general, the culture today is one where you can't learn and grow, which is, as human beings, what we're here to do."
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