Timing her departure is one thing DeGeneres has brazenly wrestled with previously. In a 2018 New York Times profile, she revealed that her actress spouse, Portia de Rossi, had been encouraging her to maneuver on from the 180-shows-a-year gig, whereas her comic brother, together with executives at Warner Bros., had urged her to proceed. Ultimately, DeGeneres signed on for 3 extra seasons, however was clear with herself and her staff that this contract — which might take her effectively past 3,000 reveals, and a surprising 2,400 superstar interviews — could be her final.
“Though all good issues should come to an finish, you continue to have hope that really nice issues by no means will,” says Warner Bros.’ Unscripted TV President Mike Darnell, who as lately as late April was nonetheless prodding DeGeneres to rethink. He calls her eponymous sequence “an absolute phenomenon,” having established itself over practically twenty years on air “because the premiere vacation spot for each superstars and unbelievable heartfelt human-interest tales.”
Certainly, after an uphill battle to get the exhibit the bottom — “it was the toughest present we’ve ever needed to launch within the historical past of our firm,” a Warner Bros. exec beforehand told THR — it’s been broadly praised for delivering a mid-day jolt of pleasure, to say nothing of rankings and income with its mixture of dancing, video games and giveaways (practically $70 million in charitable donations and greater than $300 million in viewers giveaways). NBCUniversal Native president Valari Staab, whose stations air the present, describes Ellen as “an iconic American TV program” and its host as “a trailblazer and a one-of-a-kind expertise.” DeGeneres, whose prolific output has reportedly earned her $84 million in annual revenue, per Forbes, was the recipient of the Kennedy Middle’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2015 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom underneath Barack Obama in 2016.
However this previous yr has not been with out controversy. On the heels of a sequence of non-public swipes that DeGeneres says “destroyed” her, got here a July BuzzFeed News expose detailing allegations of a poisonous office. The latter, which DeGeneres says she realized about by way of the press, prompted an inside investigation and the dismissal of key executives. The host, who’s constructed her model on the motto “Be Sort,” opened season 18 in September with a prolonged apology, telling viewers, “I realized that issues occur right here that by no means ought to have occurred. I take that very severely. And I wish to say I’m so sorry to the individuals who have been affected.” Whereas the mea culpa was broadly seen – Ellen’s highest rated premiere in years, per The New York Times – viewership rapidly tumbled, at the same time as Hollywood’s A-list remained loyal company.
Nonetheless, Darnell is steadfast in his dedication. “Ellen was and is an indelible piece of the tv panorama, and will probably be sorely missed,” he tells THR. To his aid, DeGeneres will stay part of the Warner Bros. fold, having constructed a sprawling portfolio of unscripted reveals there lately, together with Fox’s The Masked Dancer, NBC’s Ellen’s Sport of Video games and HBO Max’s Ellen’s Subsequent Nice Designer. The studio has a substantial stake in her Ellen Digital Ventures, too, which is liable for greater than 60 authentic sequence, together with digital hit Momsplaining with Kristin Bell. Although DeGeneres, who’s additionally producing pure historical past specials and documentaries for Discovery and returned to stand-up with a celebrated Netflix particular in 2018, is coy about her subsequent chapter, she is hopeful a juicy performing position and extra time for her conservation efforts are part of it.
Learn DeGeneres’ full interview with THR in regards to the determination to wrap up a present that’s earned her 64 Daytime Emmys, the allegations that just about despatched her packing and the elements that she’ll miss most – and least – about her every day platform, on THR.com.
This story was initially printed in The Hollywood Reporter.