MINNEAPOLIS — The mid-afternoon talk show scene is going to be very different in 2022.
Ellen DeGeneres announced that next year, after her 19th season, she'll be signing off for good.
"Her commentary in the Hollywood Reporter Interview is that she's been planning to leave since 2016, but they convinced her to do another contract, she wanted to do one year, they convinced her to do three," University of St. Thomas communications professor Dr. Kevin Sauter said.
He said the Ellen DeGeneres Show became more than just a talk show over time.
"It is an end of the working day kind of exercise, that brings a lot of entertainment, humor and joy to people in the afternoon," he said. "So this is an important time slot because it does bring in a lot of people into that particular place. I think that she'll be missed."
The question: who will take her time slot next?
"Well, they will try to fill that slot," Sauter said. "Every local station has to fill that afternoon slot. Like I said it's syndicated, it's for sale to individual stations and not on a network. And it competes against Jeopardy!, for example, on KARE 11. Those are the kinds of slots that have to be filled with something, and it could be a rerun it could be a first run talk show, it could be something new that comes in the works. They've got a year or so to prepare this."
And while the show came under scrutiny last summer for allegedly creating a toxic work environment, only a few can deny the cultural impact Ellen herself brought to the major TV scene.
"She is a role model as well as a pioneer in two areas obviously, one is in women in media leadership, women in the leading role program which she's done a number of times in different iterations," University of St. Thomas communications and media professor Dr. Pamela Hill Nettleton said. "And the other is that she represents, whether she wants to or not, lesbians in media as well."
Dr. Nettleton said while she doesn't necessarily believe in the phrase, "you can't be what you can't see," there is some truth to it.
"If you turn on the TV and do not see yourself, for years and years to finally see someone who has some of the same kind of identity characteristics that you have yourself, that's tremendously powerful," Nettleton said.
"She certainly is iconic in a lot of ways. That's one of the unfortunate parts of her quitting her show," Sauter added. "There's not that many representations from people from the LGBTQ community that are seen on television. So we're really losing one of the few people that represent that community and I think that's a huge loss, not only for that community but also to those of us who are allies."