Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 4:15 PM: ABC just released to Deadline a statement about Joy Behar’s exit from The View. “Joy Behar has been instrumental in the success of The View from the very beginning. We wish her all the best in this next chapter, and are thrilled that we have her for the remainder of the season.”

EXCLUSIVE 3:25 PM: After 16 and a half years on The View, Joy Behar is departing ABC’s long-running daytime talk show. I hear Behar’s contract is up in August and she has informed the network that she will not renew it as she is looking to move on to other things, including hosting a new interview show. Behar is the last original cast member of The View besides co-creator/executive producer Barbara Walters who is still on the panel. The two started off alternating as the fourth co-host before Behar was named a full-time co-host. In a phone interview, Behar said she felt 16.5 years on The View were enough. “It seemed like the right time,” she said. “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.” And following stints hosting her own shows on HLN and now Current TV, which will end with the network’s takeover by Al Jazeera, Behar is ready to do it again. “I do like talk shows, I’m interested in talking to people,” she said. “I want to do an intelligent talk show where you have room to breath.” Will that show be on CNN following reports of Behar meeting with new CNN topper Jeff Zucker? Behar would not elaborate beyond saying that she indeed had “a positive meeting” with Zucker and that “CNN would be great place” for her next show.

But before she opens the next chapter of her career, Behar will focus on closing the current one, spending a few more months with Walters and her other co-hosts on The View. “I have a lot of friends there, and I will miss everyone I’ve worked with because we have a family there,” Behar said. She singled out Walters, thanking the veteran journalist for putting her on the show. “It is a smart talk show because somebody of her stature is leading the conversation; Barbara was one of the main reasons I took that job,” Behar said.

Behar’s departure may foreshadow a reboot on The View. There had been rumors about a possible exit by Walters, with Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s future beyond this season also unclear.

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