And then there were three.

In the advent of fond morning farewells and monthlong congratulatory send-offs, it's practically refreshing to see someone as unceremoniously booted from a show as Star Jones Reynolds claims to be from The View.

Just a day after Reynolds announced on air that she would be leaving the femme-fueled chatfest in July after nine years as cohost, her exit date was moved up.

"It is becoming uncomfortable for us to pretend that everything is the same at this table," View maven Barbara Walters said Wednesday. "Therefore, regrettably, Star will no longer be on this program."

On Tuesday morning, Reynolds said, "The View is now moving in a new direction, and I will not be returning this fall--but wherever I go, I will carry a lifetime of memories with me."

While the statement itself seemed harmless enough, it was how--or rather, when--Reynolds made it that was part of the problem.

Reynolds was not supposed to reveal the news of her departure until Thursday and surprised both the audience and her cohosts by preempting her own announcement.

"This is truthfully a very difficult day for us and a sad day for us," Walters said. "We didn't expect her to make this statement yesterday. We were given no warning, we were taken by surprise."

Reynolds also apparently gave Walters & Co. no warning about comments she made to People that were published before the end of Tuesday's show.

"What you don't know is that my contract was not renewed for the 10th season," Reynolds told the magazine. "I feel like I was fired."

She continued her public speaking out Wednesday morning, when she called in to Ryan Seacrest's L.A. morning radio show.

"We had always planned to make the announcement this week," she said. "We had planned to make it on Thursday. But I woke up on Tuesday morning and after so much media, so much speculation, it was time for me to say goodbye right now."

Reynolds further claimed that she was asked immediately after Tuesday morning's show not to return to the network, despite original plans to stay on through July 13.

For her part, Walters told the Associated Press shortly after Tuesday's show that she said she felt blindsided and "betrayed" by the unplanned announcement. "I love Star and I was trying to do everything I could--up until this morning when I was betrayed--to protect her," said Walters.

"I would have loved for Star to have left and not said 'I was fired' and not make it look like the program was somehow being cruel to her."

As for Reynolds, she told Seacrest that she didn't quite understand Walters' reaction.

"It's a little shocking to me that Barbara feels betrayed," she said. "If you watched me yesterday, I said that she was the most amazing mentor and thanked her for the most amazing opportunity.

"My departure was orchestrated some time ago, and while I can accept any business decision, it's hard to accept the manner in which it was handled during the last two months. But if you use words like betrayal, if anyone should feel betrayed, it should be me! Barbara didn't have my back."

As for Rosie O'Donnell's rumored role in Reynolds' ousting, both Walters and Reynolds agree that Meredith Vieira's successor had no hand in driving Reynolds away.

Though it still smarted.

"Rosie insulted me," Reynolds told Seacrest. "She tried to damage me professionally and personally."

Walters told the AP that the decision not to renew Reynolds' contract was prompted by the personality's drop in popularity among viewers, with audiences reportedly turning away from the show in the wake of her drastic and unaddressed weight loss and her unabashed on-air shilling of corporations who sponsored her 2004 wedding to Al Reynolds.

However, Walters said on air that none of this would have come to light had Reynolds not made comments undermining the show.

"[Show producer] Bill Geddie and I said to her, 'Handle this any way you want. You can say anything about a new job, you can say anything about a new road. Whatever you say, we'll back you up. We will never say that your contract was not renewed.'

"We gave her time to look for another job and hoped that she would announce it on this program and leave with dignity," Walters said. "But Star made another choice."

Remaining cohosts Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck remained mum during Walters' announcement, though the show is clearly moving on quickly. The chatfest already removed Reynolds from the credits, though there's been no word on whether replacements will be rotated in to fill the spot. O'Donnell takes over Vieira's role as show moderator Sept. 5.

Ultimately, though, Walters was gracious. "The View helped make Star a star," she said, "and Star helped make The View the success it is."

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