The former View colleagues discuss on-air smooches – and Matt Lauer

By Stephen M. Silverman
June 20, 2006 04:50 PM

There was a reunion – though only brief – for former View colleagues Meredith Vieira and Joy Behar on Tuesday, as the future Today co-host was the special guest at a Q& A luncheon for members of New York’s Friars’ Club.

“I miss you,” Vieira, from the stage, told Behar in the audience. “We grew really close on the show.”

“We were lesbian lovers,” heckled Behar. She also warned Vieira, “There’ll be no tongue kissing at Today,” a reference to the pair’s smooch on Vieira’s last day on The View.

Vieira, who is succeeding Katie Couric, will begin on Today on Wednesday, Sept. 13, though the original start date was to have been that Monday, 9/11. “But,” she said, “it seemed inappropriate to start that day.”

Equally inappropriate was what happened on Monday as Vieira was preparing to meet network representatives at her formal introduction with new on-air partner Matt Lauer. Having been loaned an expensive pair of Fred Leighton gold hoop earrings, “worth thousands and thousands of dollars, because they wanted me to look classy,” Vieira said, she lost one in the course of relieving herself.

“You mean,” asked Behar, “you deliberately flushed an earring down the toilet?”

“No,” said Vieira, not deliberately. But once the earring went missing, “They wanted to do a cavity search. A plumber had to take apart the toilet to find the earring.”

As for Lauer, said Vieira, “He looked like, ‘Oh, my God. Bring back Katie Couric.'”

Regarding Rosie O’Donnell being tapped to join The View, “I think it’s great she’s coming on. I spoke to her a few weeks ago. She is genuinely excited and will make a nice addition,” said Vieira.

When asked what might happen to Star Jones, who has been rumored to be leaving The View, Vieira said she didn’t have much insider information to share.

“I know it’s been made clear to Star that she’s welcome to stay,” said Vieira. “I do know that all the contracts are up in September. I hope she stays, but I’m no longer on the show, and nobody asks me.”