Ellen DeGeneres addressing toxic workplace allegations during broadcast of her show
youtube | TheEllenShow

Ellen DeGeneres Bids Tearful Farewell To Audience On Show's Final Episode

After 19 seasons on the air, audiences tuned in one final time to The Ellen Degeneres Show where she gave an emotional goodbye to those who stuck by her after a whirlwind of controversy.

Trouble brewed for the star's reputation in the form of allegations from former employees that she presided over a hostile work environment and that one of her executive producers was engaging in sexual misconduct.

At the same time, DeGeneres faced criticism for how she treated certain guests, which further jeopardized her reputation as the "queen of nice" and compromised her show's stated mission as an enduring force of positivity.

Nonetheless, her revised staff picked up the pieces and came together for the show's nineteenth season, which DeGeneres announced would be the last.

On May 26, DeGeneres officially brought an end to a journey that thrust her back into the spotlight after a veritable blacklisting in the entertainment industry.

Ellen DeGeneres smiling during first episode of daytime TV show
youtube | TheEllenShow

As chronicled by NPR TV critic Eric Deggans, Degeneres saw the sudden cancellation of her '90s sitcom and a stunt in her career opportunities after coming out as a lesbian in an episode.

Although she was able to piece some of her career back by the early 2000s after hosting the Oscars and voicing Dory in Finding Nemo, it was both her 2003 daytime talk show and the feel-good atmosphere and reputation it earned her that re-established her status as a household name.

And while that reputation and the "be kind" mantra that partially defined her brand went largely unchallenged for a decade-and-a-half, her workplace controversies in 2020 did some serious public damage to it.

Ellen DeGeneres addressing toxic workplace allegations during broadcast of her show
youtube | TheEllenShow

But while many remained unimpressed after she apologized for the behind-the-scenes issues and shared how her production team changed in response, she maintained that her subsequent decision to end the show with its 19th season was not influenced by the backlash.

As she told Today's Savannah Guthrie, "If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year."

Instead, she revealed that she no longer found the show creatively fulfilling and hadn't for years up to that point.

Nonetheless, the events of this final episode made it clear that this reality didn't make it any easier for her to say goodbye.

Ellen DeGeneres dancing in the aisle between excited audience members in final episode of daytime show
youtube | TheEllenShow

Before she danced among her excited audience and exchanged hugs with some of them for the last time, viewers were treated to a retrospective that began with her show's very first moments.

In them, DeGeneres could been seen watching herself on multiple screens while sitting on a couch before turning around to her studio audience with a broad smile.

And as a fitting bookend, her final episode ended with her returning to that couch and turning back towards those screens after taking a bittersweet last look at the cheering crowd.

Ellen DeGeneres sits with tears in her eyes in ending scene of final episode of daytime show
youtube | TheEllenShow

Before this happened, however, she took a moment to tearfully thank the producers who had embarked on this journey with her from the beginning and her chief of staff Craig Peralta, who she credits as her "rock" for the past 25 years.

Finally, she extended her thanks to her loyal audience and left them with a final mission statement.

In her words, "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."

h/t: WGLT