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The Buzz: the end of "Ellen."(the hour-long final episode of Ellen DeGeneres' television show "Ellen" will feature many special guests)(Brief Article)

"I'm gay, the character's gay, that's the problem everyone has with the show. It's just too controversial. Nobody wants to deal with it."

If an epitaph were to be written for the canceled sitcom Ellen, it is these words from Ellen DeGeneres herself, as told to Entertainment Tonight last February. Ever since the groundbreaking series made history last year with its award-winning coming-out episode, Ellen has struggled to avoid an untimely end. The ongoing feud between DeGeneres and ABC regarding the show's content and promotion kept the star's name in the nation's headlines, but it wasn't enough to keep the show alive. Perhaps it is fitting then that the series finale, a one-hour special airing May 13, has been billed as a mock tribute to DeGeneres. The episode features a long list of special guests, including Jennifer Aniston, Be& Arthur, Glenn Close, Phil Donahue, and Linda Ellerbee.

Long before ABC announced its decision to pull the series, DeGeneres publicly expressed her own doubts about the show's future. Aside from that, however, the comic seemed to lay low. So low, in fact, she failed to make an April appearance at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's ninth annual media awards in Los Angeles, where she was to receive a special honor. A publicist for DeGeneres says the star was "never scheduled to appear" at the event, even though all of GLAAD's literature said so. GLAAD executive director Joan Garry says DeGeneres was set to show up, adding, "It wasn't until just days before the event that we learned officially that she would not appear."

At the time of the awards, DeGeneres was in London, watching her show's coming-out episode air for the first time throughout Great Britain. According to reports, the star likes London so much, she's looking for an apartment there. DeGeneres told London's Daily Telegraph that being gay "seems to be not such a big deal here, for whatever reason. I'm not sure why, but it's great."

Also complicating things in her absence, gossip columnist Liz Smith reported that when DeGeneres taped a guest role on Mad About You's season finale, she ruffled s6me feathers. "People present at the taping say Ellen forgot it wasn't her program, giving notes and suggestions about the proper way to do things," wrote Smith in her April 21 column. "The writers ... were not amused." Smith later reported that Mad About You's stars disagreed with her account, and, of course, DeGeneres's publicist denied Smith's original report altogether.

Wherever DeGeneres lands, it will be with a certain amount of gained wisdom. "We are not here to be the biggest stars in the world and have lots of cars," she told the Daily Telegraph. "It is more important to have a life."
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Author:Frutkin, Alan
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 26, 1998
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