‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ bids farewell

Syndicated talk program airs its finale after 19 seasons

The series finale of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” airs Thursday in syndication (check local listings).

Ellen DeGeneres has had a good daytime run, but she’s ready to end it.

After 19 seasons of helping to fill the “feel-good” space in the talk-show genre, the comedian wraps that up with the last original episode of her syndicated program Thursday, May 26 (check local listings). To fill out the commitment to stations carrying it, the series will remain on the air through the summer, partially with guest hosts introducing compilations of highlights culled from its run … but DeGeneres’ own sign-off is at hand much sooner.

If it seems her decision to end the show is relatively recent, it isn’t. Well before some staff members went public with workplace complaints, she had been thinking about stepping away from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for some time, as she indicated to this writer in a 2018 interview for her Netflix special “Relatable.”

At that time, she told us, “The talk show has been great, but I want to challenge myself, so I’ll go and host the Oscars (which she did in 2007 and 2014). As much as I love the (weekday) show, it’s so comfortable for me, nothing scares me about it … and I just like to stay creative. That’s really who I am at heart, a stand-up performer, and writing is everything to me.”

The series finale of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” airs Thursday in syndication (check local listings).

With that being said, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has been a considerable force in daytime programming. The series has won 61 Daytime Emmy Awards to date, including four for outstanding talk show and eight for outstanding talk show — entertainment. Before the workplace controversy, the program’s ratings regularly placed it near or at the top of the ratings for syndicated weekday shows.

Along with surprise celebrity encounters and gifts for guests, an aspect of the series DeGeneres has been well-known for is her dancing, venturing into the studio audience and busting moves. Also something of a trademark for her has been taking selfies with others, which caught on after DeGeneres did that with such celebrities as Meryl Streep and Brad Pitt at the 2014 Oscars. And certain comedy bits on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” caught on so well, they became series of their own (“Ellen’s Game of Games,” “Family Game Fight!”).

Many stations currently carrying “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” — particularly those owned by NBC — plan to move “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” which has a somewhat similar approach (and is produced by NBC Universal), into the slot this fall. Meanwhile, “Ellen DeGeneres Show” maker Warner Bros. Television intends to build a syndicated talk show around Oscar- and Grammy-winning singer-actress Jennifer Hudson.

As it wraps up, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is leaving its mark … and one that will remain a sizable part of daytime-TV history.

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

Pin It on Pinterest