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Here’s what happened when Ellen DeGeneres sat down with Oprah

Patrick Kelleher May 14, 2021
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Oprah Ellen DeGeneres

Oprah and Ellen DeGeneres discussed everything other than the controversy surrounding her "toxic" workplace during a softball interview. (YouTube)

Oprah Winfrey told Ellen DeGeneres that her staff have built their “financial lives” around her talk show during a softball interview.

Winfrey made her comments during a virtual appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday (13 May), where the two talk show legends discussed Ellen’s decision to call it quits after 19 years.

There was no mention of allegations that DeGeneres is “notoriously mean” and that her staff endured bullying, racism and harassment on the set of her show during the 16-minute interview with Oprah.

Instead, DeGeneres repeated the line she told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this week – that she is quitting her talk show because she no longer finds it challenging.

Oprah said she is proud of DeGeneres, who is also a longtime friend, for trusting her instinct that the time is right to end her talk show.

“I know that there has to be, as there was in the case for me, a lot of people around you who want to keep that train moving, want you to keep going, and then only you know when it is time,” Oprah said.

Oprah told Ellen DeGeneres that staff still have to pay their mortgages and car insurance

Oprah said the “hardest part” of leaving her talk show behind a decade ago was telling her staff. DeGeneres said there were “tears” when she delivered the news to employees earlier this week.

“It was hard. I told the crew and told the staff and there were tears, and it was really hard because I do love everyone here, we do have a relationship, and it’s every single day for me – I come in every day and this is my life, and theirs too. I wanted to give them a year, I wanted to give them enough time to know. I didn’t want to do it the last year I was here, I wanted to give them a year to celebrate with me and stay with me.”

Oprah replied: “I think that’s really great, because so often when you have a large staff, as you do and as I did, that staff becomes your family. This is your tribe, these are your people, and you would not be who you are without the help of all those people doing the work that a lot of people don’t recognise is going on behind the scenes.

“So you often don’t think, as I often didn’t think when you’re looking at people, ‘Wow, car insurance, mortgages, college educations being paid…’ I’m just thinking about these people and my day to day relationships, but for everybody on that staff, they have built their financial life, their family life, based on this show and so for me that was hard too.”

Oprah went on to praise Ellen DeGeneres for giving her staff “enough advance notice” so they can prepare “psychologically and emotionally” for the show to end.

DeGeneres’ interview with Oprah aired just 24 hours after she announced that her long-running talk show was coming to an end in The Hollywood Reporter. 

While DeGeneres said she was leaving the show behind because it was no longer a challenge, a former producer suggested that she was fired by her own viewers.

During an appearance on Australia’s Channel 7 show Sunrise on Thursday (13 May), Hedda Muskat – who worked as a producer on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2003 – said the host’s decision was “not a shock at all” following accusations that she is “mean”.

“Her ratings have been in the toilet for a long, long time now. Her show has not been fun, it has not been interesting, and she’s not really, by the way, stepping down. The viewers fired her,” Muskat said.

Related topics: Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey

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