The comedian announced the news on Wednesday in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, confirming the show will come to an end for good in 2022. "I just needed something to challenge me," she said, explaining why it's time. "And as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it's just not a challenge anymore. I need something new to challenge me."
DeGeneres revealed she initially planned to stop after the show's sixteenth season, but signed on for three more years. "I knew that would be my last," she explained. "That’s been the plan all along."
Had she stopped it then, she probably wouldn't have been the target of toxic workplace allegations in 2020, as a number of staffers spoke out about the alleged treatment they endured working at the show. The allegations were at odds with DeGeneres' "Be Kind" mantra.
Speaking with THR, DeGeneres said the controversy "was very hurtful" to her -- but was not the reason she decided to step away from the show.
"If I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn’t have come back this season. So, it's not why I'm stopping but it was hard because I was sitting at home, it was summer, and I see a story that people have to chew gum before they talk to me and I'm like, 'Okay, this is hilarious,'" she told the publication. "Then I see another story of some other ridiculous thing and then it just didn't stop. And I wasn't working, so I had no platform, and I didn't want to address it on [Twitter] and I thought if I just don't address it, it's going to go away because it was all so stupid."
Ellen said that seeing everything she stood for "being attacked" was something that "destroyed" her. "It makes me really sad that there's so much joy out there from negativity. It's a culture now where there are just mean people, and it's so foreign to me that people get joy out of that," she said. "Then, on the heels of it, there are allegations of a toxic workplace and, unfortunately, I learned that through the press. And at first I didn't believe it because I know how happy everybody is here."
While she acknowledged there was an internal investigation and said "some bad people" needed to be rooted out, DeGeneres also said the culture right now "is one where you can't learn and grow." Three of the show's executives were fired following the investigation.
"I check in now as much as I can through Zoom to different departments and I make sure people know that if there's ever a question or ever anything, they can come to me and I don't know why that was never considered before," said Ellen. "I'm not a scary person. I'm really easy to talk to. So, we've all learned from things that we didn't realize — or I didn't realize — were happening. I just want people to trust and know that I am who I appear to be."
With the show wrapping up for good in 2022, DeGeneres was asked what she'll miss the least about doing a daytime talk show.
"I will not miss hair and makeup every day. I'm not someone who loves to sit in a chair and have that done. And I will not miss fittings — if you gain one pound, the pants don't fit you the way that they did two weeks ago, so that doesn't feel good to have fittings. Those are the things I won'’t miss," she said.
Other than that, she said she will "miss everything else," including her work family.
"It's the best thing I've ever done in my life," she added. "And so I'll miss everything but, in my gut, I know it's time to do something different."