Rosie O’Donnell Sounds Off on Ellen DeGeneres ‘Complicated’ Talk Show Exit

by Josh Lanier

Rosie O’Donnell said Ellen Degeneres leaving her popular daytime talk show was far more complicated than we’ll likely ever know. But there is a silver lining to the whole ordeal, at least Degeneres can get some time to herself.

O’Donnell, who had her own talk show similar to The Ellen Degeneres Show in the 1990s, told The Jesse Cagle Show Sirius XM show that she was happy to see the Degeneres fiasco come to an end. The media also dubbed O’Donnell the “Queen of Nice.”

Similarly, for Degeneres, whose catchphrase was “be kind,” she had that phrase turned on her. Years worth of former Ellen employees claimed she was a tyrant behind the scenes and looked the other way when producers harassed employees. But O’Donnell doesn’t believe it’s that simple.

“I don’t think it was the ‘be kind’ thing that got her. I think that’s an oversimplification,” O’Donnell said. “But it was a lot of things, and it was complicated, and I’m glad that she’s, you know, going to be finished and she can get some time to herself.

“It’s a huge kind of strange thing to be on a show like that, and have all that attention on you,” O’Donnell added. “And she had it for like 19 years. So, you know, it’s a tough thing.”

O’Donnell said Ellen Degeneres had likely wanted to find a life/work balance that worked for her.

“I have an understanding of the cycle of show business, and kind of what happens in people’s careers, and when enough is enough,” O’Donnell told Jesse Cagle. “Oftentimes people don’t know that. I think I have a good balance of both in my life, of the importance of both. And it’s hard to maintain. It’s hard to do, especially when you’re doing a show like that.”

Staffers: Ellen Degeneres Was Tyrant Behind Scenes

Last year, Buzzfeed published hundreds of anonymous former employees and their impressions of Ellen DeGeneres behind the scenes. It was a distant throw from the dancing, “be kind” comedian her fans were used to.

“That ‘be kind’ bulls**t only happens when the cameras are on. It’s all for show,” one former employee told the outlet. “I know they give money to people and help them out, but it’s for show.”

Employees talked discussed producers sexual harassment and the show’s executives mistreating them.

Degeneres told The Hollywood Reporter that she was leaving being she wasn’t creatively fulfilled anymore.

“As great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it’s just not a challenge anymore,” Ellen said on May 12.

But it was clear after the misconduct charges were announced and grew and grew, it was possibly only a short matter of time before she stepped away.

“It’s sad that the show ends like this, but Ellen seems confident that she made the right decision,” an insider told People magazine: “After the toxic workplace allegations, the question was more when will [the show] end and not if it will end.” 

Kelly Clarkson with the Kelly Clarkson Show will take over Ellen Degeneres’ time slot next year.