Nobody Puts Barbara In a Corner

6/28/2006 1:35 PM PDT

Nobody Puts Barbara In a Corner

Star Jones has left "The View" – permanently, according to her now-former co-host and boss, Barbara Walters. The show aired this morning with just Walters, Joy Behar, and Elisabeth Hasselbeck taking their customary seats at the now oddly empty round table, and Jones' name and picture has been removed from the opening credits.

After the ladies took their seats, Walters began the show, dryly, "And then there were three."

Summoning as much patrician chill as she could, Barbara gave as good as she got: She told the audience that Star wouldn't be coming back, and that though she had purposely given her a few months to find a new gig and had given her the chance to "leave with dignity," her co-host had "made another choice" by talking to People magazine and making "other announcements" in the media yesterday. Walters also said that she and the producers had decided not to renew Star's contract several months ago (which, she says, Star knew) though she didn't go into the reasons why.

Jones, perhaps to try to take the offensive, appeared earlier this morning before "The View" on Ryan Seacrest's KIIS-FM radio show and said that she wanted to leave when they told her contract wasn't going to be renewed two months ago and that, until yesterday, Joy and Elisabeth didn't even know she had gotten the boot.

Jones told Seacrest that "if anyone should feel betrayed, it should be me," referring to comments Walters made yesterday that she had felt "betrayed" by Star's jumping the gun.  And she complained that she found out about how Rosie O'Donnell – who Star said had been "nasty and insulting and vicious" about her weight loss – was brought onto the show at the Emmy Awards, when Barbara announced it. 

Star also acknowledged that she had made some missteps in commercializing her wedding planning to the hilt, saying "I want to take full responsibility for the audience thinking, 'Star abandoned us.'"

Listen to Star on KIIS-FM