We hope that Dakota Johnson is having a good week.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show debuted in 2003 and has left an indelible mark upon daytime television.
Over the past couple of years, however, the show and its titular host have been mired in controversy.
Amidst scandal and plummeting ratings, he talk show is now coming to an end.
Season 18 premiered in September of 2020, amidst not only the COVID-19 pandemic but intense public scrutiny.
Season 19, Ellen and Warner Bros have confirmed, will be the final season.
The plan means that the show will run through 2022 before no further episodes are made.
Ellen says that it was her own decision to end the program after nearly two decades.
Allegedly, she has been thinking over ending the show for several years.
Ellen informed her staff on Tuesday, May 11.
Her plan it to speak to Oprah Winfrey about the decision on Thursday, May 13's new episode.
On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter released an interview in which Ellen explained her decision.
“When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged," Ellen began.
"And as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” Ellen claimed.
Warner Bros' Unscripted TV President Mike Darnell also weighed in.
He called the series "an absolute phenomenon," and as recently as April was still hoping that she'd change her mind.
For nearly two decades now, The Ellen DeGeneres Show has been a landmark of daytime talk television.
At first, the series struggled even to launch.
Even so, Ellen quickly became a touchstone of middle-of-the-day jubilation for talk show viewers.
The series was known, more than anything, for sometimes awkward dancing.
Ellen also hosted games with guests and gave away a sizable fortune in the show's 18 years.
$70 million in charitable donations and over $300 million in audience giveaways makes a lasting impression.
Ellen was also a trailblazer in terms of LGBTQ+ equality.
When she came out as gay in the nineties, the bigoted backlash nearly destroyed her career.
Homophobia is evil, and no one questions that Ellen's career has been a touchstone for the cultural shift away from it.
However, in recent years, there have been rumors and anecdotes about Ellen that were ... unflattering.
We all know that some people in powerful positions, both in and out of the entertainment industry, are unpleasant to work for.
But viewers and longtime fans were appalled to hear the anguish expressed by current and former employees of Ellen.
First came years of reports that Ellen was unkind, rude, or event vindictive towards service workers.
There were anecdotes from waiters and hotel employees who described her trying to cost them their jobs.
Some of these made headlines. Others traveled only by word of mouth without being published.
Then, the veneer on Ellen's public image truly began to crack when Dakota Johnson called her out on her own show.
"That's not the truth, Ellen" is a powerful line that has resonated through social media and our culture for a reason.
And it was only a prelude to the deluge of scandal that followed.
In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the United States, Ellen's producers and crew were kept in the dark.
For a while, they were told next to nothing nothing about hours, pay, or work that they would be doing as the show continued.
Meanwhile, a non-Union tech company was hired to set up Ellen's home so that she could continue to film.
When the crew of more than 30 core employees were contacted, they were told to brace themselves.
Though they show was continuing to air, they were told to expect a 60% cut to their pay.
This was not just a monstrous betrayal of loyal employees, but totally contrary to Ellen's public image.
When it rains, it pours, and a deluge of unhappy employees began to speak out.
A lot of people will keep quiet about untenable working conditions while they are being paid well.
When they are no longer being paid well, the incentive to keep their misery to themselves suddenly evaporates.
Stories of yelling, of verbal abuse, of people walking on eggshells and afraid to take sick days made headlines.
While many current employees spoke on the condition of anonymity, former employees from guests to producers spoke even louder.
It was a fiery scandal, seeming to confirm what many had believed for years: that Ellen was not the cheery, smiling person she pretended to be on screen.
Of course, celebrities spoke out in defense of Ellen.
Many of them described her as warm, caring, and all of the things that she seemed to be on camera.
But then, we don't really judge people for how they treat famous actors, do we? It's how they treat employees and waiters that matters.
Two high-level producers who worked on the show were named in numerous upsetting anecdotes.
These men are no longer employed by the show, and it appears that the network had hoped audiences would get closure.
Fans were intended to simply believe that Ellen had simply not noticed a toxic environment, rather than contributing to it herself.
But, the show returned for Season 18 after a pandemic delay, and reports claimed that employees were happier.
Maybe they were. Maybe things really did improve after an avalanche of public scrutiny.
Guests returned to the show as if no one had heard a thing about Ellen being a nightmare boss.
But one thing did not return: the ratings.
Following the allegations, the show lost as many as one million viewers.
A solid portion of the audience (albeit still in the minority) clearly could not look at Ellen the same way again.
It's a shame that Ellen has seemingly not been conscious about practicing the kindness that she espouses on television.
And it is "interesting" to hear that she is ending the series due to feeling a lack of a challenge.
Like Dakota Johnson, we have questions about the veracity of that statement. Is Ellen really just smarting from a lack of love?