Ellen DeGeneres to end TV talk show next year after 19 seasons

'My instinct told me it’s time,' the popular host said on Wednesday

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 05, 2020, US actress and TV host Ellen DeGeneres poses in the press room with the Carol Burnett award during the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California. DeGeneres, a staple of daytime American talk show culture, said on May 12, 2021, she is ending her show after 19 seasons. The 63-year-old host, writer, producer, actress and comedian won dozens of Emmy awards for the show and has been a pioneer of the LGBTQ community in America since she came out as gay in 1997. That revelation shocked America and nearly doomed her career. / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN

Ellen DeGeneres is calling time on her long-running talk show.

The daytime host, who has had a ratings hit after allegations of running a toxic workplace, has decided that the coming 19th season will be the last, ending in 2022. It coincides with the end of her contract.

"You may wonder why I've decided to end after 19 seasons. The truth is, I always trust my instincts. My instinct told me it's time," a tearful DeGeneres said on Wednesday.

“I promise you that we’re going to have a fantastic final season. It will be a season where I truly get to say, ‘Thank You. Thank you all.’ Every day will be a celebration,” she said.

She used humour to lighten the mood and the message.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (L) sits with Ellen DeGeneres during a commercial break in taping of the Ellen Show in Burbank, Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 13, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

“In 1997, I knew it was time to come out on my sitcom and live my truth," DeGeneres said, recalling a vivid, inspiring dream in which a bird escaped its cage because it had to be free.

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Although all good things must come to an end, you still have hope that the truly great things never will

"Recently, I had a dream that a bird, beautiful bird with bright red feathers, came to my window and whispered, 'You can still do stuff on Netflix'," a deadpan DeGeneres said, drawing laughs from the virtual studio audience.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which started airing in 2003 and is distributed by Warner Bros, has a mix of dancing, games and giveaways along with A-list celebrities. But the host, who built her brand on the motto "Be Kind", opened season 18 in September with a lengthy apology.

Three of the show’s producers exited over the summer amid allegations of a dysfunctional workplace that harboured misbehaviour, including sexual misconduct and racially insensitive remarks.

While the allegations were "very hurtful to me", they did not influence her decision to leave the show, DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter. "I wouldn't have come back this season" if they had, she said.

"Although all good things must come to an end, you still have hope that the truly great things never will," Mike Darnell, president of unscripted TV for Warner Bros, said on Wednesday.

“It was and is an indelible piece of the television landscape, and it will be sorely missed.”

Market researcher Nielsen's data shows The Ellen DeGeneres Show viewership dropped by 1.1 million people this season, from 2.6 million viewers to 1.5 million viewers.

DeGeneres was the recipient of the Kennedy Centre’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humour in 2015 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom under Barack Obama in 2016.

In addition to her talk show, she has had a hand in Fox's The Masked Dancer, NBC's ellen's Game of Games and HBO Max's Ellen's Next Great Designer.