Ellen DeGeneres bid a tearful goodbye to viewers yesterday as her long-running daytime talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” came to an end after 19 seasons.
DeGeneres opened the episode with a final monologue in which she reminisced about her nearly two-decades on the air, telling viewers that, “Twenty years ago, when we were trying to sell the show, no one thought that this would work – not because it was a different kind of show, but because I was different.”
When the show first aired, “I was not allowed to say gay,” she continued. “I couldn’t say ‘we,’ because that implied that I was with someone, sure couldn’t say ‘wife,’ and that’s because it wasn’t legal for gay people to get married and now I say ‘wife’ all the time.”
She added, “25 years ago they canceled my sitcom because they didn’t want a lesbian to be in prime time once a week, and I said, ‘Okay, well, I’ll be on daytime everyday, how ‘bout that?’”
“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” debuted in 2003, six years after DeGeneres came out on her sitcom “The Ellen Show” (the show was subsequently canceled in the spring of 1998). Despite the concerns over DeGeneres’ sexuality, the show would prove a critical and commercial success, earning multiple Daytime Emmy and People’s Choice awards.
DeGeneres announced in May 2021 that the show’s 19th season would be its last. Although the announcement came following accusations of a toxic work environment on set, DeGeneres told the Hollywood Reporter that the rumors had nothing to do with her decision to end the show.
For the final episode, DeGeneres was joined by guests Jennifer Aniston, who appeared on the premier back in 2003, and performers Billie Eilish and Pink.
“What a beautiful, beautiful journey that we have been on together,” DeGeneres said as she wrapped up her monologue, adding, “and if this show has made you smile, if it has lifted you up when you’re in a period of some type of pain, some type of sadness, anything that you’re going through, then I have done my job.”