By DAVID BAUDER
NEW YORK — The last of the original hosts on ABC’s daytime talk show “The View” — except for the program’s inventor, Barbara Walters — makes her exit Friday.
Joy Behar’s last day is punctuated by a profane joke. Taped a week ago, the program is a salute to Behar with special guests, a serenade and highlights of her memorable moments, including interviewing Barack Obama and walking out on Bill O’Reilly.
Behar, 70, a standup comic and writer, said after the taping that she wants to do something different without being held to the schedule of a daily talk show. She’s exploring different areas, and said she met with CNN chief Jeff Zucker about possibilities there.
“I don’t want to do just one thing,” she said.
Behar began her co-host duties with the first episode of “The View” in August 1997. Walters’ idea for a talk show with women hosts kicking around the news of the day, followed by celebrity guests, proved to be a success from the start.
Walters recalled learning about Behar after being taken by Regis Philbin to hear her nightclub act. “For years she has been proving how right I was” to hire her, she said.
ABC hasn’t named a replacement for Behar. The network recently said Jenny McCarthy would replace Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who left for a job at Fox News Channel. Producers face another big decision next year when Walters retires.
The changes will give “The View” a chance to reach out to a younger audience. The median age of a typical viewer is 61.6 years old, according to the Nielsen company. That’s about two years older than “The Talk,” the CBS lookalike show that has had a particularly strong summer. “The Talk” has recorded four of its six most-watched weeks on the air during this summer.
Age issues at “The View” were evident on Behar’s last day. Besides Walters, 83, the show featured visits from Joan Rivers, 80; Philbin, 81; and Alan Alda, 77. Tony Bennett, 87, saluted her in song.
Behar’s going-away joke, in a nod to Walters, required knowledge of 1970s television news feuds to get the punch line.