Elisabeth Hasselbeck was notably missing as the last of Barbara Walters’ original Ladies of The View bid the show adieu today in a mostly-older-star-strewn, pre-recorded episode. Joy Behar was feted for her more than 16 seasons on the daytime gab-fest that’s undergoing major re-casting as it competes with a slew of copycats. Among those putting in appearances, in person or via recorded message on the episode: Mario Cantone, Joan Rivers, Nathan Lane, Jane Lynch, Steve Martin, Carol Burnett, Debbie Reynolds, Toni Bennett (who performed his standard, The Good Life), and Regis Philbin, who as Babs told it, took her to hear Behar’s nightclub act, which led to Behar’s hire. “For years she has been proving how right I was” for the decision…I discovered Joy Behar!” Babs said — Of course she did!
Behar, who’d started off alternating as the fourth co-host before being named a full-time co-host, told Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva back in March she’d decided 16.5 years on The View were enough and she would leave the show this month when her contract ran out. “It seemed like the right time…You reach a point when you say to yourself, ‘Do I want to keep doing this?’ There are other things on my plate I want to do — I’ve been writing a play, I’ve been neglecting my standup,” she’d explained. Behar, who had a show on HLN during her run on The View, also said back in March she’d had a “positive meeting” with CNN chief Jeff Zucker and that “CNN would be a great place” for her next act. Zucker, who has been re-defining the kind of programming that’s offered on the cable news network, was reported to be contemplating a comedy show.
Behar’s was one of the happy exits from the show. The departures of Rosie O’Donnell and Star Jones – not so much. Hasselbeck’s, last month, was at least superficially cordial. She took the stage that day, arm-in-arm with Babs, who said she was so happy Hasselbeck had landed at Fox News Channel – four months after using the show to denounce the “particularly false story…about Elisabeth’s alleged departure” when word got out Hasselbeck was being shown the door. Instead of Hasselbeck, happy exiter Meredith Vieira stopped by. That View alum is launching her own daytime talker, for NBCU, in 2014. Vieira noted “there’s something about Joy” as a clip was shown of Vieira kissing Behar on the lips, adding, “I was drawn to her, and when we finally pushed Star aside in a rather violent move and locked lips, there was that faint smell of peppermint and gin on her lips.” She grabbed Behar and kissed her again, then Behar kissed Babs, and a lot more kissing erupted.
Until this spring The View had not had a cast change since ’07, when Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd were brought in. Walters, who is now the last remaining original cast member – and reportedly retiring in May – told Behar, “I don’t know what you plan to do with your time but whatever you choose it will be smart and provocative. … I love you, Joy. I love every moment we’ve had together. … Thank you. We are really going to miss you.” Behar returned the favor – but after first thanking her hair and makeup people, and her co-hosts, who, she said, taught an only child “what sibling rivalry is.”
Then, addressing Babs, she said, “There’s something I’ve been meaning to say on your behalf for 16 years: ‘F*** Harry Reasoner’!” Reasoner was Babs’ co-host on the ABC Evening News back in the 70’s, when a female evening news co-host was big news.
Watch clips from today’s show here: