Ellen DeGeneres Show: when is the talk show ending - and what happened during Dakota Johnson interview?

The American talk show host has been described by staff as ‘mean’ and the culture of the show ‘toxic’

US TV host Ellen DeGeneres has won many awards for her hit talk show, but it is to end after the 19th season (Picture: Getty Images)

US comedian Ellen DeGeneres has announced that her famous talk show will come to an end next year, following the 19th season.

DeGeneres has been caught up in a number of controversies in the past few years, with some arguing the once-loved host now has a tarnished reputation and viewers have tuned out as a result.

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In March, Nielsen data showed Ellen’s viewership had dropped by 1.1 million people in her current season, from 2.6 million to 1.5 million viewers.

So, why has the show come to an end and when will she host her last guest? This is what you need to know.

What is the Ellen DeGeneres show?

The show, often referred to as ‘Ellen’ is a comedic reality talk show, which first aired in September 2003.

The show previously attracted more than 4 million viewers, but over 1 million have tuned out since she came under fire for hosting a “toxic working environment”, last year.

DeGeneres started out as a comedian and actor, but signed with NBC to become the host when her second sitcom, The Ellen Show, was cancelled in 2002. Her first sitcom, Ellen, ran on ABC during the late 90s.

The show shares human interest stories, engages the audience members in games and competitions, and often hosts celebrities and public figures.

DeGeneres has had much success with her daytime show, winning 61 of its 171 Daytime Emmy Award nominations, including four for Outstanding Talk Show and seven for Outstanding Talk Show Entertainment. The show has also won 17 People’s Choice Awards.

The NBC show is the only of its kind to surpass the ratings of Oprah, hosted by DeGeneres’ friend and rival host, Oprah Winfrey.

DeGeneres renewed her contract with NBC in 2018, commissioning the show for a further three seasons, until 2022. However, on 12 May, she announced that the show would be discontinued after the 19th season.

The season has not yet aired, but it is expected to be shown in 2022. A date for the season’s debut has not been announced.

Why is The Ellen DeGeneres show ending?

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, DeGeneres told how she had no intentions of continuing the show beyond 2022, having previously planned to end it after season 16.

She said: “I was going to stop [hosting Ellen] after Season 16. 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.

“So, we [settled] on three more years and I knew that would be my last. That’s been the plan all along.”

DeGeneres also told THR that the show no longer challenges her creatively, having now run for nearly two decades.

"It's going to be really hard on the last day, but I also know it's time," she continued. "I'm a creative person, and when you're a creative person you constantly need to be challenged."

However, there has been speculation around whether this is the real reason why the show is ending, as DeGeneres recently came under fire for allegations of mistreating staff on the set of her talk show.

What controversies has The Ellen DeGeneres Show been accused of?

The talk show host and other senior staff members have been accused by former and current staff of bullying and creating a toxic work environment. Since the allegations surfaced in 2020, the show’s ratings have taken a nosedive.

Rumours first surfaced about the less than lovable behaviour of DeGeneres in March 2020, when fellow comedian Kevin T Porter started a Twitter threat which prompted people to share their experiences of working with her.

He described DeGeneres as “notoriously one of the meanest people alive." The Tweet has since garnered over 70,000 likes.

DeGeneres has been quoted several times as having a “be kind” mantra, which Porter felt was a “cheap imitation”.

Since then, staff employed or previously employed by the show have complained about their treatment at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.

Members of the production team said they had been left high and dry, unsure of whether they had a job. Some have claimed they were told they would face significant pay reductions.

Warner Bros., which produces the show, said it was “committed to taking care of our staff and crew and have made decisions first and foremost with them in mind.”

By July, staffers had reported several experiences of mistreatment, including being fired for taking sick days or bereavement leave to attend family members’ funerals.

One black staff member also said the toxic racist microaggression forced them to leave the show, reported BuzzFeed. WarnerMedia then launched an internal investigation into the show’s production.

Has DeGeneres responded to accusations of mistreatment?

DeGeneres penned a letter to those who had complained which was obtained by Entertainment Weekly, in which she apologised but also shifted blame onto other employees.

She wrote: "As we've grown exponentially, I've not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I'd want them done," DeGeneres wrote.

"Clearly some didn't. That will now change and I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again."

In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Warner Bros. said the investigation had highlighted “deficiencies" in how the show was run and "several staffing changes [would be] made."

Three senior producers have since departed the show.

In addition to issues arising between senior and lower-level staff members, DeGeneres has also muddied her gleaming reputation after she appeared out of touch and blasé when commenting on social issues.

She described lockdown as “like being in jail” while residing at her Beverly Hills Mansion.

She also posted, in a now-deleted Tweet: “For things to change, things must change," regarding the Black Lives Matter campaign, which her critics said was lacking compassion and vague.

DeGeneres has revealed she will be interviewed by fellow chat show host Oprah Winfrey on Thursday, 13 May.

What happened between DeGeneres and Dakota Johnson?

While DeGeneres has been at the forefront of negative media attention in the past year, some argue the downfall began before staff complaints surfaced.

In an interview with actress Dakota Johnson which aired in 2019, Johnson accused DeGeneres of lying about not receiving an invite to her 30th birthday party.

The interview went viral as it clearly showed a strained and awkward relationship between the pair. Johnson had appeared on the show previously but told DeGeneres in the 2019 interview “I didn’t even know you liked me.”

She added: “Last time I was on the show, last year, you gave me a bunch of s**t about not inviting you, but I didn’t even know you wanted to be invited."

The two have a back and forth exchange before Johnson told DeGeneres to check with the show’s producer, as she had been invited but had failed to attend.

DeGeneres failed to remember why she hadn’t attended, before it emerged that she had in fact been pictured with her wife on the weekend of the party - cosying up to President Bush and his wife, Laura.

Many felt this showed dishonesty and disloyalty from DeGeneres, who had tried to imply Johnson had not invited her to her birthday party.

Since DeGeneres announced that the show will come to an end, many have pointed to the interview as the beginning of the show’s downward spiral as viewing ratings dropped after this.

How can I watch The Ellen DeGeneres show?

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is shown every weekday on ITV2 at 2pm.

Viewers can also catch up on the ITV hub.