Ellen DeGeneres has a long way to go in the 19th and final season of her talk show, which she promises will be a “big celebration.”
She intends to greet longtime viewers, travel the Memory Trail to revisit the first appearances of budding stars like Rihanna and Justin Bieber, and celebrate the show’s accomplishments.
“It will be a ‘thank you’ to everyone, because the show won’t take place without the support of the fans,” DeGeneres said during a hiatus from production of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which returns Monday to Friday. United States.
Also of note: the show’s philanthropy, which included much more than product giveaways.
“We’re going to check with the people we’ve helped over the years (and) the people who’ve paid it up front,” DeGeneres said. This includes an educator from Las Vegas who opened her own portfolio for students in need and whose school was rewarded by the show with a new library and other resources.
“I want people to really remember what the show was like,” the host said. “It has been a happy place and it continues to be a happy place. And I hate to be remembered in any other way.
That DeGeneres expresses such concern over the legacy of his greatest career success to date should come as a surprise to the host-comedian whose motto is “be kind.” But that’s inevitable given claims last year that the show was a toxic workplace.
Three of its producers came out amid allegations of an environment that harbored misconduct, including sexual misconduct and race-insensitive remarks. DeGeneres, who has apologized on the air for “things that shouldn’t have happened,” also defended herself as the same genuine person – albeit flawed – on and off camera.
In a recent phone interview, she said she was reluctant to address the situation further and that Warner Bros. had taken care of it.
DeGeneres has already faced a backlash. By 1997, six years before the talk show launched in 2003, she and the character she played on her sitcom, ‘Ellen’, had become gay. Amid declining ratings and reviews, it was canceled by ABC in 1998.
The project that jump-started his career was seen as an uncertain gamble, syndication market analyst Bill Carroll said.
“There are two things she had to face,” he said. One was Oprah Winfrey’s status as the queen of daytime conversations, the other was a painful truth: compared to today, more Americans at this time either did not accept or were hostile towards people. LGBTQ, live or outside.
“But she took over the public and she took over the industry,” Carroll said. He credits his relatable comedy and a well-produced format that included putting DeGeneres among his studio guests – often dancing alongside them – for helping viewers embrace him as “just that funny person.”
DeGeneres has spoken freely and publicly about her life, including her marriage to actor Portia de Rossi. He has received accolades including several Emmy Awards and the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Comedy in 2015.
She credits her work ethic and staying true to “who I am” for helping her through the backlash that followed her decision to go out. DeGeneres once again leaned on these pillars when she and the series came under fire last year.
“If you stay the course, and if you know who you are, then things are going to be fine, things will be fine,” she said. “I can’t really control what other people think or what other people say. And what I really can’t control are things that aren’t verified and are just said and thrown. And it hurt.
“But I don’t think I would be where I am today. I don’t think I would be as successful as I am if these things were true, ”she said.
She had famous advocates when the allegations surfaced last year, including Katy Perry and Kevin Hart, and some observers have called DeGeneres’ criticism sexist.
Audience for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has declined significantly in the 2020-2021 season from the previous one, from 2.6 million to 1.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen. It’s common for an aging show, Carroll said, and also reflects the evolution of television and, to some extent, workplace issues.
Its final episodes, likely to be loaded with stars and non-celebrities who have become familiar to viewers, should see the series end on a higher note.
The decision to end just under 20 was hers, DeGeneres said, although the studio urged her to continue, and others pinched her willingness to end on an uneven tally.
“I think 19 is a lot. One is the beginning and nine is the end, ”she said, employing the kind of fancy line she throws off easily.
And what’s next for DeGeneres? His plate is already full, with production contracts that include “Family Game Fight! and “Ellen’s Next Great Creator” from HBO Max.
“I just want to fall and breathe for a little while, without having to do anything everyday,” DeGeneres said. But she’s already pondering a return to her comedy and acting roots and has requested a consultation with Winfrey on the Afterlife talk show.
“I spoke to Oprah for sure. She understands better than anyone what it’s like to do every day. And her advice for me is to take no decisions for a little while, take a break and really think about the next step. “