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Ellen DeGeneres to end daytime talk show after 19th season

The talk show host and her producers came under intense scrutiny in recent months after news reports detailed an allegedly toxic workplace.
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Ellen DeGeneres plans to end her daytime talk show after its upcoming 19th season.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, DeGeneres said "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" was no longer a challenge for her.

"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," she said.

The formal announcement for the show's ending is expected to happen during Thursday's monologue, where DeGeneres calls the program the "greatest experience" of her life, according to a preview provided to NBC News.

"You may wonder why I’ve decided to end after 19 seasons," DeGeneres writes. "The truth is I’ve always trusted my instincts. And my instinct told me it’s time."

When "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" began in 2003, DeGeneres' career was struggling after a then-controversial decision to come out as openly gay on her 1990s sitcom "Ellen." But the talk show helped skyrocket the comedienne to an empire of brands, becoming a household name as families tuned in across the world to view the internationally syndicated series.

Fans will still have a relationship with DeGeneres, she assured, even after she says goodbye to the Burbank set that has been home to her show for nearly two decades.

"I promise you that we’re going to have a fantastic final season," DeGeneres continues in her monologue. "It will be a season where I truly get to say 'Thank You.' Every day will be a celebration. There will be lots of surprises, some trips down memory lane and a few detours through 'Why Did I Wear That Alley.'"

DeGeneres, 63, and the show’s producers have come under intense scrutiny in recent months after news reports detailed an allegedly toxic workplace.

In a report published by BuzzFeed News last July, anonymous former employees accused the show’s executive producers of harassment and claimed they experienced a culture of racism, fear and intimidation.

In response, WarnerMedia — the parent company of Warner Bros. Television, which co-produces and distributes the show — launched an investigation. DeGeneres apologized to the staff and three top producers parted ways with the show.

“I learned that things happen here that never should have happened,” DeGeneres said in the debut episode of the show’s 18th season in September. “I take that very seriously, and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected.”

DeGeneres is set to sit down with "TODAY" co-anchor Savannah Guthrie for an interview airing Thursday morning.

In the wake of the BuzzFeed report, NBC News spoke to multiple former staffers who corroborated at least some of the accusations of misconduct by senior management, but they said they could not speak publicly because they were bound by nondisclosure agreements and feared retribution.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which premiered in September 2003, was a ratings success for much of its run. The show was known for its celebrity pranks, gift giveaways and its host's signature dance moves.

But over the last several months, as the comedian and her crew faced mounting criticism, viewership numbers started to slip.

The scrutiny on DeGeneres represented another chapter in the entertainment industry’s reckoning with allegedly toxic behind-the-scenes behavior from film sets to executive suites.

It was also a stark reversal for a host with a family-friendly image — and a show that went by the motto "Be Kind."

In addition to her talk show, DeGeneres hosts a game show that airs on NBC, "Ellen's Game of Games." (NBC News and the NBC broadcast network share NBCUniversal as a parent company.)