In the 16 years since she’s dominated daytime TV, Ellen DeGeneres has been a stabilizing, non-threatening force for good. No matter what’s in the news, who’s blowing up your timeline, or the state of your bank account, Ellen’s is here to make you laugh with some eight-year old who knows all the words to “Back That Azz Up” or whatever. That could very well change in the near future, however, as a new profile in the New York Times centers around the host’s potential retirement.
She reportedly almost didn’t renew her current contract, which keeps her on air until the summer of 2020. After that, though, it’s anybody’s guess where she goes. Stand-up is definitely an option, but that likely depends on how fans receive her upcoming Netflix comedy special, Relatable, her first in 15 years. In the interview, Ellen teases that it smudges her squeaky clean image somewhat.
“I wanted to show all of me,” she said of the special. “The talk show is me, but I’m also playing a character of a talk-show host. There’s a tiny, tiny bit of difference.”
Her wife, actor Portia de Rossi, seems to want her off TV, saying that she could pivot to radio or podcasting. “I don’t see the end of her show as her career ending,” de Rossi said, and she’s not wrong in that audiences would most certainly turn out for another Dory and Nemo joint.
If Ellen bailing on her daytime safe space sounds cruel in this soul-crushing climate, know this: Ellen’s fans sometimes demand that she dance for them. There is perhaps no greater nightmare.
Relatable hits Netflix on December 18.