Why Did ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ End? We Trace the Downfall

Did plummeting ratings and toxic workplace allegations lead to the demise of 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'?

Sarah Kester - Author
By

Apr. 3 2024, Published 2:51 p.m. ET

In May 2022, the long-running talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show came to an end after 19 historic seasons. For more than two decades, viewers watched as the comedian busted out her best dance moves, charmed celebrity guests, and provided the internet with plenty of viral moments.

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These lighthearted moments were darkened when the show became the target of several toxic workplace allegations. At the center of many of these allegations was Ellen herself.

So, why did The Ellen DeGeneres Show end? We trace the complicated ending.

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Why Did ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ end?

In a May 2021 episode, Ellen told her viewers why the show's curtain was closing. "I truly have felt like next season was the right time,” she said, per the BBC. She added, "The truth is, I always trust my instincts. My instinct told me it's time."

At the time, the show was also dealing with plummeting ratings.

But Ellen didn't mention that part in her reasoning, nor did she bring up the toxic workplace allegations that the show began grappling with just 10 months prior.

What were the toxic workplace allegations surrounding 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'?

In July 2020, BuzzFeed published a report that detailed the alleged bullying, racial discrimination, and sexual harassment that reportedly went on behind the scenes of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. They talked to several former employees who all asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation.

One former employee claimed that Ellen’s “be kind” motto was all for the cameras. “That ‘be kind’ bulls--t only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” they said.

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“I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show," they continued.

Other staffers claimed that they weren’t allowed to speak to Ellen. These allegations echoed what comedian Kevin Porter wrote in a viral X (formerly Twitter) thread in March 2020. He claimed that Ellen is “one of the meanest people alive” and called on others to share their stories of the TV host being mean. The thread received over 2,000 replies.

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While it was mainly executive producers and senior managers who were blamed in the BuzzFeed report for the workplace toxicity, former employees believed that Ellen should be held responsible since it’s her show.

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Did the toxic work allegations factor into 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' ending?

In a May 2021 interview with Today, Ellen shared that the controversy is not why the show ended.

“If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year,” she said. “I really did think about not coming back, because it was devastating. It started with attacks on me and attacking everything that I stand for and believe in and built my career around ... I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy.”

She also claimed that she didn’t know about the staffers’ complaints until she read about it online. However, she did take some responsibility.

“It’s my name on the show, so clearly it affects me, and I have to be the one to stand up and say this can’t be tolerated,” she said.

The final episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show aired on May 26, 2022. It featured celebrity guests Jennifer Aniston (she was the first guest on the show when it aired in 2003), Pink, and Billie Eilish.

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