Joy Behar refutes 'exaggerated' rumors she's exiting The View: 'I'm not leaving'
'I need to be on television,' Behar said.
One of The View's foremost HBICs wants fans to know she's not going anywhere... for now.
After Variety writer and author Ramin Setoodeh claimed Joy Behar — and multiple other sources — told him she planned to retire from the long-running ABC talk show when her contract expired in the summer of 2022 (and wrote about the claims in bonus interviews that appear in the new paperback version of his View-centered book Ladies Who Punch), the longest-running cohost in the series' history set the record straight on Thursday morning's broadcast.
"They're always talking about me leaving the show, but I'm not leaving the show. Let me say that rumors of my retirement have been greatly exaggerated," Behar said at the top of the episode. "Where am I going to go? What will I do? I need to be on television."
She jokingly added that she can't leave her post because she provides "employment for right-wing" journalists who regularly bash her liberal views: "I'm a job-creator over at Breitbart. Everything I say appears on Breitbart. I don't see how I could leave!"
Moderator Whoopi Goldberg said that Behar leaving would be like "breaking up the band," to which Behar — who helped launch the Barbara Walters-created talk show as an original cohost in 1997 before briefly leaving the panel across seasons 17 and 18 — responded: "Well, the band has been broken up many times, so I don't know that that would be such a big deal."
Behar finished the segment by clarifying her comments from the extended version of Setoodeh's book.
"In the midst of this coronavirus, a lot of the news outlets are sort of interested in any sort of news they can get," she explained. "What I did say to the reporter who reported this was: 'If I'm as fabulous in 2022 as I am now, I'll probably be here.' You just don't know. No one knows what they're going to do in the next two years.... you can't predict anything. But as of now, as of today, the answer is no. I'm going nowhere."
Setoodeh previously claimed the 77-year-old told him: “I have a three-year contract.... But that doesn’t mean I can’t leave if I want to, because they can’t really do anything to me at this point. I don’t see myself staying for more [time]. That’s it! I could be wrong. If I’m as fabulous in  as I am now, I’ll think about. But the chances of that happening…. You know, time marches on. I’m not a kid.”
When reached for comment, the author provided a statement to EW, saying, "for the paperback edition of my book Ladies Who Punch, Joy talked to me about how she doesn't see herself signing another contract at The View," adding that "this is consistent with what she's said privately backstage at the show" and that he stands by "the full original quote, which readers can find for themselves in my book."
Cohost Meghan McCain added Thursday that, upon hearing the alleged news, she immediately called Behar to tell her that leaving "isn't an option."
"You're not leaving. I'm not leaving. None of us are leaving. There's a pandemic and an election and the world is insane, and, also, I'm pregnant, and I need advice from you about being pregnant from someone that probably does pregnancy similar to how I'm going to do it.... none of us are going to let you go!"
Watch Behar address her retirement rumors in the clip above.
After its initial publication, this article was updated with a statement from Setoodeh.