Lesbian icon and all-around funny lady Ellen DeGeneres has announced she is walking away from her popular daily talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” next year. Over the past 18 seasons, Ellen has done well over 3,000 shows – 180 a year – conducted 2,400 celebrity interviews and performed countless good deeds for excited fans across the country.
“When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged,” Ellen told The Hollywood Reporter. “As great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore.”
Ellen went on to tell the Reporter that her wife, actress Portia de Rossi had long been advocating for her to end the show. Her brother and others meanwhile, including Warner Bros. executives, urged her to continue.
“I was going to stop after season 16,” she said. “That was going to be my last season and they wanted to sign for four more years and I said I’d sign for maybe one. They were saying there was no way to sign for one … 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,” Ellen responded.
Ellen made a name for herself as a standup comedian in the early ’90s. From ’94 to ’98, she starred in the self-titled sitcom “Ellen.” At the end of the show’s fourth season, in 1997, Ellen’s bookstore-owning character in the show came out as a lesbian in a highly anticipated episode. Ellen, herself, came out publicly at the same time. The show’s fifth season explored the title character’s emerging sexuality and was very heavily focused on LGBTQ+ subject matter. Suddenly, the same fans who had eagerly anticipated “Ellen,” turned off their TV sets in droves and the show was canceled.
Ellen returned to TV just a few years later with “The Ellen Show,” a critically acclaimed sitcom that featured Ellen as a high school counselor and included acting heavyweights Martin Mull and Academy Award winner Cloris Leachman as Ellen’s mother. Despite the star power, the show failed to last a full season. By this time, Ellen was largely considered washed up by the masses.
But in 2003, Ellen reinvented herself as a daytime talk show host and found her niche with “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which was an instant hit. Ellen’s quirky personality and funny interview style connected with viewers and she was soon giving Oprah Winfrey a run for her money. “The Ellen DeGeneres” show has won 13 Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Talk Show so far.
In addition to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Ellen is also the host of “Ellen’s Game of Games,” a primetime game show, and she is executive producer and co-creator with Steve Harvey of “Little Big Shots,” a children’s talent show. Currently, the status of “Little Big Shots” is in limbo, as it has yet to be either renewed for a fifth season or canceled.