LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) — Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres ended her long running daytime talk show with a star-studded farewell.
DeGeneres guests for the final episode of the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” included musicians Billie Eilish, and Pink, as well as actor Jennifer Aniston.
DeGeneres launched the talk show in 2003 amid a surge of the daytime talk format that also included shows by Sharon Osbourne and Rita Rudner, among others.
The show quickly proved to be a Bonafide hit both with fans and critics, generating strong ratings and earning 11 Emmy nominations for its first season and winning four including Best Talk Show.
The success of her show was an abrupt turnaround for DeGeneres, whose sitcom “Ellen” was canceled in 1997 amid plummeting ratings in the season after both she and her character on the show came out as gay.
“Twenty-five years ago, they canceled my sitcom because they didn’t want a lesbian to be in prime-time once a week. And I said, ‘OK, then I’ll be on daytime every day,’” DeGeneres told the audience on Thursday.
More recently, DeGeneres seemed to chafe at role as the friendly, dancing talk show host and during a recent Netflix comedy special, she lampooned her squeaky-clean image and in a 2018 profile in the New York Times, she discussed feeling pigeonholed by the role.
As well, she faced criticism in 2020 after Buzzfeed ran a series of articles in which anonymous former employees accused DeGeneres and senior producers on the show of creating a toxic work environment. WarnerMedia launched an investigation and DeGeneres apologized publicly several times and stepped back from the show for several weeks.
DeGeneres said she isn’t sure of her plans following the end of her talk show but said she plans to spend some time considering her next career move, the Associated Press reported.
“If I’ve done anything in the past 19 years, I hope I’ve inspired you to be yourself, your true authentic self. And if someone is brave enough to tell you who they are, be brave enough to support them, even if you don’t understand,” DeGeneres told the audience at the conclusion of the show. “By opening your heart and your mind you’re going to be that much more compassionate, and compassion is what makes the world a better place.”