UPDATED WITH VIDEO: “Seven in the Bible is the number of God’s completion. And I’ve been here seven years and my time at The View is complete,” Sherri Shepherd said modestly at the top of The View broadcast this morning — the show’s first original episode since Shepherd announced she was leaving, and Jenny McCarthy said “Me too!” — or words to that effect. She continued to hang on to Shepherd’s storyline this morning — literally — at one point clutching Shepherd’s hands and appearing to think Shepherd was referring to her as her mentor, putting Shepherd in the awkward position of having to clarify that she was addressing co-host Whoopi Goldberg.

“I’ve been blessed to interview Barack Obama; Bill Clinton is a a big fan of mine –h e loved that I played a hooker in One for the Money,” Shepherd tearily told viewers. Possibly hinting at where she’s landing next, Shepherd continued, “I get the chance to call Oprah Winfrey a friend, and that’s a long way from being a legal secretary who wanted to tell jokes.”

The Giant Neon Pink Gorilla — the show’s sole lisademoraescolumn__140603223319surviving co-host Goldberg called it, was addressed at the beginning of the show. McCarthy jumped in with word that the reports of the two exits was rumor only and not true. Roars from the studio audience. “Actually, it’s true – but I love the support!” McCarthy simpered, then added, “After much consideration, I’ve taken a new job that will allow me to do what I do best, which is talk without having to interrupt anyone.” She and Shepherd told viewers they would unveil their new gigs at Some Future Point, on the show.

Two weeks ago, Sherri Shepherd broke news on Deadline that she had decided to walk, after contract talks broke down.

“It’s been seven wonderful years on The View and after careful consideration it is time for me to move on,” she said, thanking co-exec producers Barbara Walters and Bill Gedde for the opportunity afforded her during her time on the show. That was followed fast by a tweet from Jenny McCarthy: “If Sherri goes… I go too. #sisters” – though that threat lost most of its teeth when word got out the show had planned to remove her from the cast for next season.

ABC responded with a statement:  “The View will be moving in an exciting new direction next season and ABC has made decisions to evolve the show creatively.” The network forgot to send the memo to Walters, who last week was quoted as saying, “I don’t think we have a new direction, yet. I think we have time.”

And that, in turn, was in marked contrast to Babs’ declaration in April, right before she stepped down as The View’s on air Den Mom, that Shepherd “definitely” was coming back next season as were McCarthy and Goldberg.

“I made friendships and sisterhoods,” Shepherd said on this morning’s broadcast of The View, choking up. “Elisabeth Hasselbeck is my sister for life. Joy Behar is my sister for life,” she continued, as McCarthy grabbed her hand and leaned in toward her. “You are my sister – you, my friend, have been a mentor to me,” Shepheard continued lovingly, as McCarthy beamed. “I love you so much, Whoopi Goldberg,” Shepherd clarified, telling viewers, “Whoopi Goldberg had my back even when I didn’t appreciate it” as McCarthy released her hand and leaned back.

“Thank you guys for supporting us!” Jenny said moments later, getting in the last word as she put her face up to Sherri’s for screen-grabbing purposes.

While McCarthy appears to be just the latest victim of  “a decision was made to move the show in a new direction creatively,” Shepherd’s decision was the result of unsuccessful contract-renewal talks  — the two parties were too far apart on the Last Best Offer, sources with knowledge of the situation said.

The View has seen its share of co-host changes. Last month, the day before Walters bow out, all 11 The View  past and present co-hosts assembled to say so-long, including some who’d left under less than happy circumstances – including Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell. O’Donnell’s thought to be on the short list of possible co-hosts for next season. Fun new game in town is spreading rumors about possible new co-hosts for The View — Sarah Palin was a popular one this morning, though the timing became a little suspicious when Sportsman Channel announced it had ordered another season of her Amazing Alaska series and elected her First Lady of the Outdoors.