Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey Discuss Ending Their Long-Running Talk Shows
By Antoinette Bueno
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Oprah Winfrey made a virtual appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show airing on Thursday, and gave her advice to the host on what it's like ending an extremely popular, long-running talk show.
Ellen DeGeneres confirmed on Wednesday that she's ending her daytime talk show after 19 seasons. Winfrey, of course, was the host of The Oprah Winfrey Show from 1986-2011, which ran for 25 seasons before going off the air. Winfrey commended DeGeneres for knowing when it was time to quit, and shared that she also knew it was time to end The Oprah Winfrey Show after she felt like she was no longer growing.
"I'll tell you what I didn't miss and when I knew it time for me to end was when like, I was doing a makeover show -- we did a lot of makeovers over the years -- and I just thought, there's not another way I can ask somebody, 'What mascara are you wearing?'" she recalls. "There's not another way I can say, 'What color is that eyeshadow you're wearing?' There's not another way I can do that and be honest and authentic to myself. So, I thought, yup, time to start thinking about moving in another direction."
Winfrey said what she misses the most is the audience.
"I always felt I was a surrogate viewer and I was there representing the audience," she explains. "So, many times I would ask the audience questions, particularly of celebrities that I didn't care about the answer, but I was the stand-in, the surrogate for the audience. So, I really miss the camaraderie with the audience because as you know, after every show I sit and talk to the audience and that's where a lot of the ideas came from. ... I miss being able to talk to people about what's going on in their lives ... and I think you will miss the camaraderie of the audience."
Winfrey joked that if she were DeGeneres, she would push the show to 20 seasons just to hit that milestone number.
"I don't argue with the 19 -- even though I would probably go to 20 just because I'm just like that, like, 'I got to go to 20' -- but I remember when I had [Jerry] Seinfeld on after he ended his show, and I said, 'Nine? Why not quit at 10?'" she shares. "And he said, 'Because I was ready in nine.' So, I applaud 19."
"I'm proud of you for trusting your instinct because I know there has to be, as there was for me, a lot of people around you who want to keep that train moving, who want you to keep going," she adds. "Only you know -- only you know when it's time."
Later, Winfrey said that while she hardly ever leaves her house due to the coronavirus pandemic, she would do it to appear in person for DeGeneres' final season.
"I have friends who say, 'You haven't left home since the Civil War,'" she cracks. "I intend to leave home to come to do one of your shows next year. So, if you're open next year, I will come to your show next year, but otherwise I still don't feel really comfortable in crowds because -- even though I'm vaccinated and [my boyfriend] Stedman's vaccinated -- I don't know who else is vaccinated."
Meanwhile, DeGeneres told Winfrey she was emotional after giving her monologue, given that it now made her decision to end the show "real."
"But, I'm feeling good," she says. "I feel like it's the right thing to do. But, I'm charged. It's a weird thing to announce that I'm stopping."