4:24pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Joy Behar Departing 'The View'
The View is losing Joy Behar.
The actress and comedian's contract will not be renewed when it expires at the end of the current season, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. A panelist alongside creator Barbara Walters from the very beginning, Behar leaves the ABC News vet as the last original member of the daytime show.
"Joy Behar has been instrumental in the success of The View from the very beginning," read a statement from ABC. "We wish her all the best in this next chapter, and are thrilled that we have her for the remainder of the season."
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The departure means that Behar will soon be a free agent, with her HLN series canceled in 2011 and her Current TV show coming to an end when the network transitions to Al Jazeera.
Behar and Walters had seats at The View table with Meredith Vieira, Star Jones and Debbie Matenopoulos when the show premiered in 1997. Tweaks to the lineup along the way, most notably the firing of Jones and Rosie O'Donnell's controversial two-year stint as moderator, led to a current panel that includes Sherri Shepherd, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Whoopi Goldberg.
The View also sees a rotating seat of guest contributors for the part-time Walters, who most recently took off a month to recover from chicken pox and a concussion.
Behar's current contract takes her through the August close of the 16th season.