The View is sending off original co-host Joy Behar in style.
At a taping of Behar's final special tribute show, to air Friday, Aug. 9 on ABC, the 70-year-old comedienne was surprised by a slew of famous friends — including Regis Philbin, Joan Rivers and former View-er Meredith Vieira —to reminisce about her 16-year run. Emceed by rumored replacement Mario Cantone, who would be the show's first full-time male panelist, the episode closes with a special performance by Tony Bennett.
Who does Vieira think should take Behar's spot on the panel? "If a man were to step in, it would be Mario," she says. "He was a huge supporter of the show long ago when we were desperate for support. And he may have a vagina for all I know!"
Co-host Sherri Shepherd agrees, teasing, "He fits the bill of being bitchy and a woman!" All jokes aside, "Whoever takes Joy's place has to be completely fearless — when I say fearless, I mean you cannot be afraid to speak up," Shepherd says. "They've got to be ballsy, they've got to be brassy, they've got to be funny and I don't know who fits that bill."
Other buzzed about contenders to take the seat next to Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg and Shepherd are Brooke Shields, Ali Wentworth and Hota Kotb. (Jenny McCarthy has already been hired to replace Elisabeth Hasselbeck.)
But for now, all eyes are on Behar, who will film her last live show on Aug. 8. "I think Joy should do whatever the heck she wants," Vieira told TV Guide Magazine of Behar's next move. "She deserves it." Shepherd agrees. "The sky's the limit for her. I would love to see Joy on Broadway. I would love to see Joy do a one-woman show."
Whatever she does, she'll enjoy her free time. "The morning is not my favorite time to work," admits Behar. "It's nice to have a life off of TV!"
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