Behar didn't want tears; she wanted laughter after 16 years with the ABC chatfest. That's what she got in the telecast shown to the country Friday.
Although Behar did express love for Barbara Walters, the comedian departed tartly. "[Expletive] Harry Reasoner," Behar said, cutting down Walters' old nemesis. It's what you would expect from Behar.
Leno should have laughter, not tears, when he leaves to make room for Jimmy Fallon. Leno has grown fabulously wealthy from "The Tonight Show." He kept plowing on during a rocky era for NBC. He did what his bosses asked of him, even taking an ill-advised detour into prime time. He returned to "The Tonight Show" after Conan O'Brien's short stint there and helped restore the ratings.
But any sort of sendoff comparable to the one given Johnny Carson would be out of the question for Leno. The TV business has changed, and Carson had a special bond with viewers.
The best exit plan these days: Keep it sweet, simple and funny.
Back on "The View" next week, Karina Smirnoff of "Dancing With the Stars" will serve as guest co-host Monday. Rob Lowe will be a guest, and Walters will learn to make an omelette. On Tuesday, John Edwards and Char Margolis will give psychic readings. The Wednesday and Thursday episodes will be repeats.
Winfrey got a big sendoff when she left her daytime talk show. But she really didn't leave. She has tirelessly promoted OWN, her cable channel, and now "The Butler."
Leno isn't likely to go away, either, after "The Tonight Show." NBC has talked of using him in specials as it once employed Bob Hope.
Leno's departure is another reminder of how Carson was special: When Johnny left, he really left. And that was reason for tears.