“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,” Ellen, 63, told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published on Wednesday, May 12.
While the announcement comes 10 months after several former employees came forward with claims of a “toxic” work environment on the set of the long-running series, Ellen revealed her decision to walk away has been in the works for quite some time.
“I was going to stop 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 for one,” the Louisiana native explained. “They were saying there was no way to sign for one. ‘We can’t do that with the affiliates and the stations need more of a commitment.’ So, we [settled] on three more years and I knew that would be my last. That’s been the plan all along. And everybody kept saying, even when I signed, ‘You know, that’s going to be 19, don’t you want to just go to 20? It’s a good number.’ So is 19.”
After Buzzfeed News published a shocking exposé detailing the experiences of several former staffers on The Ellen DeGeneres Show set in July, Ellen addressed her employees in an apology letter obtained by Us Weekly. She promised to make sure “this does not happen again.” Following an internal investigation into the claims of workplace misconduct, a spokesperson for Warner Brothers confirmed the company had “parted ways” with executive producers Ed Glavin and Kevin Leman, and co-executive producer Jonathan Norman in August.
Ellen addressed the controversy to her viewers in the opening monologue for the season 18 premiere in September. “The truth is, I am that person you see on TV. I’m also a lot of other things,” she said. “Sometimes I get sad. I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient. And I am working on all of that. My intention is to always be the best person I can be. And if I’ve ever let someone down, if I’ve ever hurt their feelings, I am so sorry for that. If that’s ever the case, I’ve let myself down.”