November 19, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

”The View”’s efforts to appeal to Gen-X viewers are apparently over. Lisa Ling, who replaced Debbie Matenopoulos on the Barbara Walters-led coffee-talk show as the token woman under 30, announced Monday that she’s leaving for greener pastures. Literally, since she’ll be out in the field as the new host of MSNBC’s ”National Geographic Explorer.”

Actually, Walters made the announcement for her, telling viewers at the beginning of Monday’s show, ”Some three years ago, when, after a long search, we were fortunate enough to have Lisa join us… and I said, ‘You should stay with us about three years, we know you want to be a reporter. And then you should think about spreading your wings.’ And unfortunately, she took our advice.”

Before joining the ABC morning show, Ling, 29, had racked up field experience as a globe-trotting war correspondent for Channel One, the daily newscast sent to schools across the country. ”Since I started at ‘The View,’ I always knew I wanted to get back into reporting,” she tells E! ”If I don’t do it now, I may never want to do it,” she told the Associated Press. ”Two years from now, I may be thinking about settling down and may not want to travel.” (The guy she’s reportedly thinking of settling down with is ”Die Another Day” baddie Rick Yune.)

Ling will remain on ”The View” through Dec. 5. According to the Washington Post, celebrity guests will fill her chair until a new permanent host is found. Meanwhile, don’t cry for Boyd Matson, who has hosted the weekly ”Explorer” since 1994. He’ll be shifted onto other National Geographic TV projects, the Post reports.

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