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Ellen DeGeneres’ Exit Comes After Years of Daytime Ratings Declines

Ellen DeGeneres is ending her daytime talk show after 2022’s Season 19. That’s good news for (relative) newcomers Kelly Clarkson and Tamron Hall, who have been nipping at her heels in syndicated TV ratings for the last year or two. Ellen’s fellow syndicated veteran Maury Povich probably won’t be too broken up over her exit either.

Like much of the TV landscape, the “Ellen” ratings have declined for years — but they really started to struggle this season, which kicked off just weeks after production company Warner Bros. fired three of the show’s top producers amid accusations of a toxic workplace and sexual misconduct that tarnished her onscreen persona as a queen of “nice.”

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DeGeneres’ daytime show is down a whopping 47% in ratings from her previous season so far, averaging a 1.0 in national household ratings. She had a 1.9 average in 2019-20 and a 2.1 in 2018-19. And she’s shed more than 1 million viewers on average since last season, according to Nielsen.

“Dr. Phil” has regularly been the daytime talk show leader in ratings, though “Live With Kelly & Ryan” is currently ahead this season, averaging a 1.9 to Phil’s 1.8. All of the syndicated daytime talk shows pale in comparison to courtroom leader “Judge Judy,” which is ending this season. But that’s really a different genre.

These days, “Ellen” is outclassed by “Phil” and “Live With Kelly & Ryan.” She is instead tied with “Maury” and one-tenth of a ratings point ahead of “The Kelly Clarkson Show” (which boasts a 0.9 in its second season).

“Ellen” and “Maury” are currently two-tenths ahead of “Tamron Hall,” “Wendy Williams,” “Steve Wilkos” and “Rachael Ray,” which are each averaging a 0.8 rating thus far this season.

“When you’re a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged — and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” DeGeneres, who is about to conclude Season 18 of “Ellen,” told The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday.

Representatives for DeGeneres, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “Ellen” studio Warner Bros. TV did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for additional comment Wednesday.

The Daily Mail was first to report the news that DeGeneres would be ending her talk show in 2022, with a source telling the website, “She’s promised one more season after this one and will exit at the end of the 2021/2022 season – the 19th season of the show. The ratings have tanked and have been truly appalling this year and Ellen knows her time is up.”

Last year, accusations of a “toxic” workplace put “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in the spotlight. In the end, DeGeneres apologized to her staff for the climate and multiple producers were fired.

“It was very hurtful to me. I mean, very,” DeGeneres told THR of the allegations levied against the culture at her daytime talk show. “But if I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn’t have come back this season. So, it’s not why I’m stopping but it was hard because I was sitting at home, it was summer, and I see a story that people have to chew gum before they talk to me and I’m like, “OK, this is hilarious.” Then I see another story of some other ridiculous thing and then it just didn’t stop. And I wasn’t working, so I had no platform, and I didn’t want to address it on [Twitter] and I thought if I just don’t address it, it’s going to go away because it was all so stupid.”

Tony Maglio