The daytime talk show first premiered on Sept. 8, 2003.
Ellen DeGeneres will end her eponymous daytime talk show on May 26 after 19 seasons. The host of The Ellen DeGeneres Show will be joined in her farewell tour by a lineup of upcoming special guests that will include Michelle Obama, Jennifer Garner, Channing Tatum, Serena Williams, David Letterman, Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani and many more.
They're scheduled to make appearances during the final months leading up to the finale and will pay tribute to the trailblazing host and share their favorite memories from DeGeneres' 19 seasons. Additionally, ET can confirm that the Ellen staff will be receiving series finale bonuses.
Following the finale, the show will continue to air guest host shows, compilation shows and repeats during the summer months on affiliate stations. After nearly two decades on daytime television, DeGeneres has invited more than 4,000 guests, generated more than 3,000 hours of TV, hosted 1.5 million audience members and has given away more than $450,000,000.
Ellen took to Instagram shortly after the news was announced and posted a 30-second video touting the farewell season. She captioned the post, "My final episode airs on May 26. I’m going to miss this."
The Ellen DeGeneres Show premiered on Sept. 8, 2003 and it proved to be a dominant force in her afternoon time slot. The show has also hauled in 64 Daytime Emmys. But the run came to a screeching halt in 2020 after the show was embroiled in controversy following a BuzzFeed News expose in which former employees called out the show for allegedly having a "toxic work environment." The allegations triggered an internal investigation and prompted production to go on hiatus. At the time, DeGeneres apologized in a staff email and the show held a virtual staff meeting to discuss the allegations.
During her first show of the season 18 premiere, DeGeneres addressed the controversy on-air, telling viewers, "As you may have heard, this summer there were accusations of a toxic work environment at our show, and then there was an investigation."
"I learned that things happened 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," she continued. "Being known as the 'Be Kind Lady' is a tricky position to be in. The truth is I am that person you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad. I get mad. I get anxious. I get frustrated. I get impatient -- and I am working on all of that. ... I am a work in progress."
A source at the time told ET that while the allegations against DeGeneres were tough, she stayed because she wanted to honor her commitment to the show and her staff through the end of her contract. DeGeneres also said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that all the drama surrounding the show the past year was not the reason for her departure.
"It almost impacted the show. It was very hurtful to me. I mean, very. But if I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn't have come back this season," DeGeneres explained. "So, it's not why I'm stopping, but it was hard because I was sitting at home, it was summer, and I see a story that people have to chew gum before they talk to me and I'm like, 'OK, this is hilarious.' Then I see another story of some other ridiculous thing and then it just didn't stop. And I wasn't working, so I had no platform, and I didn't want to address it on [Twitter] and I thought if I just don't address it, it's going to go away because it was all so stupid."
"My whole being is about making people happy. And with the talk show, all I cared about was spreading kindness and compassion and everything I stand for was being attacked," she continued. "So, it destroyed me, honestly. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. And it makes me really sad that there’s so much joy out there from negativity. It’s a culture now where there are just mean people, and it’s so foreign to me that people get joy out of that."
DeGeneres announced back in May 2021 that the 19th season would be her last.
"It's going to be really hard on the last day, but I also know it’s time," DeGeneres told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. "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. I need something new to challenge me."
"Although all good things must come to an end, you still have hope that truly great things never will," Warner Bros.' unscripted TV president Mike Darnell added, calling the series "an absolute phenomenon" that established itself "as the premiere destination" for both superstars and incredible heartfelt human-interest stories. "Ellen was and is an indelible piece of the television landscape, and it will be sorely missed."