The 63-year-old made the announcement in an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. Per the report, DeGeneres broke the news to her staff on May 11 and will sit down with pal Oprah Winfrey to discuss the decision during an upcoming episode of the talk show on May 13.
When asked about why she’s decided to pull the plug, the television personality stated, “I was going to stop after season 16. That was going to be my last season and they wanted to sign for four more years and I said I’d sign for maybe for one. They were saying there was no way to sign for one. ‘We can’t do that with the affiliates and the stations need more of a commitment.’ So, we [settled] on three more years and I knew that would be my last. That’s been the plan all along. And everybody kept saying, even when I signed, ‘You know, that’s going to be 19, don’t you want to just go to 20? It’s a good number.’ So is 19.”
In short, it seems like DeGeneres is simply ready to take the next step in her career and move out of her comfort zone. She continued, “When we did our 3,000th show, they showed that highlights montage and everybody was emotional. We all hugged and everyone had tears in their eyes, and Mike Darnell was there going, ‘You really want to [end this]?’ Look, it’s going to be really hard on the last day, but I also know it’s time. I’m a creative person, and when you’re a creative person you constantly need to be challenged, which is why I decided to host the Oscars or why I decided to go back to stand up when I didn’t think I would. I just needed something to challenge me. And as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore. I need something new to challenge me.”