After allegations of a toxic work environment and a steep drop in ratings, Ellen DeGeneres has made the decision to put an end to her daytime talk show. The decision came after some of the show’s higher-level producers were hit with a number of sexual misconduct allegations from lower-level workers.
In this past Wednesday’s statement to the Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres noted that this next season, her 19th, will be her last one. Beyond dealing with allegations and low ratings, she noted that she no longer felt the show was creatively challenging for her.
DeGeneres told the Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
Three of the Ellen Show’s high-level executive producers received allegations of overseeing a work environment where inappropriate touching and sexual harassment were common. The problem became so overwhelming that WarnerMedia had to step in for an investigation.
One WarnerMedia launched its investigation, DeGeneres wrote a letter to her employees in response to formers workers who noted the regularity of fear, racism, and intimidation on set. In her letter, she pointed out that she became reliant on other people to deal with daily operations.
However, she also said, “My name is on the show and everything we do and I take responsibility for that.”
This past August, DeGeneres made the announcement that some of the shows executive producers, including Kevin Leman and Ed Glavin, as well as co-executive producer, Jonathan Norman, had all been terminated.
Just a few months later, the show was struggling to book A-list celebrities. After seeing a major dip in ratings during a season that was typically very busy, several of the show’s advertisers left.
“Unfortunately, I learned that through the press,” DeGeneres said about the sexual misconduct allegations that began arising.
“And at first I didn’t believe it because I know how happy everybody is here and how every guest talks about, ‘Man, you have a great place here. Of all the talk shows I’ve done, everyone here is so happy.’ That’s all I’ve ever heard,” she said.
“So, there was an internal investigation, obviously, and we learned some things but this culture we’re living is [is one where] no one can make mistakes. 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.”
The stunning end to this show is quite unexpected considering how much of an empire DeGeneres had built for herself over the decades. With a reputation as the “Queen of Nice” and well-branded observational humor, it is clear that many people could have never seen this coming.
DeGeneres spoke with her staff this past Tuesday, informing them that she would be ending the show. Plans to sit down with Oprah and discuss the news are in the works for Thursday.