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Ellen DeGeneres to End Her Talk Show in 2022

Ellen DeGeneres will step down from her daytime talk show next year, according to a spokeswoman for the host.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” the winner of dozens of Emmys, was hugely successful for nearly two decades. But it has experienced a steep ratings decline in recent months — in the 2020-2021 television season, Ms. DeGeneres has lost more than a million viewers, a more significant drop than any of her daytime competitors.

The news of Ms. DeGeneres’s planned departure was reported earlier by The Hollywood Reporter, as part of an interview with the host.

The ratings slide began shortly after there were accusations of workplace misconduct on the show’s set. In July, BuzzFeed reported that several former and current staff members said they had confronted “racism, fear and intimidation” at work. Several staff members also said producers had sexually harassed them. After an investigation by Warner Bros., the company that produces the show, three high-level producers were fired.

Ms. DeGeneres apologized to her staff in the summer, when the show was on hiatus. On her return to the air in September, she told her viewers: “I learned that things happen here that never should have happened. I take that very seriously. And I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”

The next season of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is its 19th. For much of its run, it was in the top tier of daytime programs, with millions tuning in each day. After its recent falloff, the size of its audience has become similar to the viewership for Maury Povich and Kelly Clarkson, hosts who, until recently, had not been considered bona fide rivals.

Ms. DeGeneres’s talk-show contract with Warner Bros. runs through 2022. She has publicly mused on stepping away from the program in recent years. She has also broadened her workload, having made a standup comedy special for Netflix and reaching a deal with Warner Media to create new shows for its streaming platform, HBO Max, among other projects.

“I just needed something to challenge me,” Ms. DeGeneres said in the interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “And as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore. I need something new to challenge me.”

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Ellen DeGeneres Loses 1 Million Viewers After Apologies for Toxic Workplace

Public perception of Ms. DeGeneres started to change in July when BuzzFeed reported that several of the show’s former and current staff members said they had confronted “racism, fear and intimidation” on the set. Several staff members also said producers had sexually harassed them. Warner Bros. investigated the workplace and found “deficiencies.” Three high-level producers were fired, including Ed Glavin, an executive producer; Jonathan Norman, a co-executive producer; and Kevin Leman, the head writer. Ms. DeGeneres apologized to her staff before addressing her viewers in September.

Some observers believe the accusations may have weakened Ms. DeGeneres’s relationship with her audience. The host built her show as an oasis from the outside world, a place of goofy dancing, light jokes, cash giveaways to surprised audience members and high-wattage celebrity guests. Several years ago, she adopted “be kind” as her motto, in response to the suicide of Tyler Clementi, a gay college student who took his own life after being bullied.

“Her brand is not just being fairly nice — it is ‘Be Kind,’” said Stephen Galloway, the dean of Chapman University’s Dodge College of film and media arts. “She’s chosen two words to stamp herself. You cannot have hypocrisy better defined than when you’ve chosen those two words to define yourself and everyone is seeing the opposite is true inside your show.

“The reason the incident with the producers was such a difficult and perilous moment is it’s the first time where something surfaced to indicate that a family — Ellen’s own professional family — was dysfunctional,” he continued.

Ms. DeGeneres referred to her motto in her on-air apology. “Being known as the Be Kind Lady is a tricky position to be in,” she said. “So let me give you some advice. If anyone is thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the Be Kind Lady.” She added that she was indeed the cheerful person she appeared to be on television, but was also someone who experienced moments of sadness, anxiety and impatience.

In addition to her daytime show, Ms. DeGeneres is also a prime-time star for NBC — and her show for that network, “Ellen’s Game of Games,” also a Warner production, has lost 32 percent of its viewers this season, as well as 35 percent in the adult demographic important to advertisers.

Even with the complications affecting all talk shows during the pandemic, “Ellen,” with its loss of 43 percent of its audience, has suffered a steeper decline than its rivals. “Dr. Phil” is down 22 percent, and “The Kelly Clarkson” show has lost 26 percent of its viewers. Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest’s show has lost just 3 percent, and “Tamron Hall” is down 9 percent.

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