Ellen DeGeneres has decided to step away from her popular talk show after her upcoming 19th season, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The longtime host announced the news to her team on Tuesday, according to the outlet. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is currently in its 18th season.
“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,” the 63-year-old said.
DeGeneres discussed her departure in her opening monologue for her show on Thursday, and she shared a clip of her comments on Twitter late Wednesday. Telling fans that she had given the decision lots of thought, DeGeneres said: “The truth is, I always trust my instincts. My instinct told me it’s time. … In all seriousness, I truly have felt like next season was the right time to end this amazing chapter.”
The comedienne will have Oprah Winfrey on as a guest on Thursday’s show to chat about the decision.
The news was first reported by the Daily Mail, as a source claimed the DeGeneres “knew her time is up.” “The show has bled viewers since the toxic environment around Ellen and her show was made public,” they said.
Last summer, DeGeneres faced a public reckoning over claims that she ran a toxic workplace environment, with nearly a dozen current and former employees coming forward with various accounts. They described racist comments made by other staffers and intimidation tactics. Some claimed they were fired from their positions after taking medical and bereavement leave.
As a result, DeGeneres’ ratings tanked, and the one-time queen of daytime talk shows found herself in an unfamiliar position. This year her audience plummeted by 1.1 million, a drastic 43 percent decline.
A humbled DeGeneres, who often signed off her show with the mantra “be kind,” was forced to make three apologies, one on-air, another in an email to staff, and a third in a video call.
“I learned that things happen here that never should have happened,” she said on her show in September. “I take that very seriously. And I want to say, I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I’m in a position of privilege and power. And I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”
DeGeneres claimed to The Hollywood Reporter her abysmal ratings had nothing to do with her decision to leave, saying she originally wanted to stop doing the show in its 16th season. Instead, she was convinced to stick around for a little bit longer. “We [settled] on three more years and I knew that would be my last. That’s been the plan all along.”