Oprah says she's proud of Ellen for trusting her instinct: 'Only you know when it is time'
When the reigning queen of daytime talk, Ellen DeGeneres, decided to bring her show to an end, she had one guest in mind for the first episode following her announcement: another former daytime ruler, Oprah Winfrey.
On Thursday's installment of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Winfrey appeared virtually and praised DeGeneres for knowing it was time to call it a day on the long-running production, which is set to conclude with its upcoming 19th season. Winfrey also reflected on the end of her own eponymous program, The Oprah Winfrey Show, in 2011.
"It's almost 10 years ago — will be next week — 10 years ago when I was in this exact position," Winfrey said. "I know what those feelings are. I also know the feelings leading up to it. So hearing you say, and announcing to the world that it was your instinct, and that you thought long and hard about it — because anybody would know that for something that is as powerful as the show is in other people's lives, that you would not take that lightly. And that coming to the realization that, 'Now it is time,' is a process."
DeGeneres said her decision was influenced by her need as a creative person to "be challenged." While in support of her fellow Montecito, Calif., resident and TV groundbreaker, Winfrey said she would have probably ended the show on a nice round number like 20 seasons.
"I'm proud of you for trusting your instinct because I know that there has to be — as there was in the case for me — a lot of people around you that want to keep that train moving, who want to keep going. And then only you know, only you know when it is time. So… I don't argue… with the 19 [seasons], even though I probably would have gone to 20 because I'm just that like, 'Oh, I've got to go to 20,'" Winfrey said with a laugh. "But I remember when I had [Jerry] Seinfeld on after he ended his show and I said, 'Nine? You quit in nine? Why not 10?' And he said, 'Because I was ready, and nine.' So I applaud 19."
During the interview, Winfrey discussed what prompted her own decision to wrap Oprah after 25 years on the air.
"When I started to feel like it's time for me to end this, like I was doing a makeover show," she recalled. "We did a lot of makeovers over the years, and I just thought, 'There's not another way I can ask somebody, What mascara are you wearing? There's not another way that I can say, What color is that eyeshadow you're using?' There wasn't another way I could do that and be honest, and authentic with myself. And so I thought, 'Yeah… time to start thinking about moving in another direction.'"
DeGeneres said that while next season will be her last, she will continue her involvement in the digital space.
"We still have the digital," she said. "I mean, you know, EllenTube is huge and we have original shows. That's going to continue, our social media is going to continue… I still am going to be, you know, very much involved with digital."