Comedienne Joy Behar is quitting as co-host of hit U.S. talk show The View after 16 years.

Behar has been a member of the all-female panel since the series premiered in 1997, but now the 70 year old is set to leave the roundtable at the end of the series' current season to take her career in another direction.

She tells, "It seemed like the right time. You reach a point when you say to yourself, 'Do I want to keep doing this?' There are other things on my plate I want to do - I've been writing a play, I've been neglecting my stand-up."

A statement from executives at ABC reads, "Joy Behar has been instrumental in the success of The View from the very beginning. We wish her all the best in this next chapter."

The news comes just weeks after reports suggested Behar, who also presented Current Tv news show Joy Behar: Say Anything!, was in negotiations to host her own programme on rival network CNN, and she further fueled the rumours by adding, "I do like talk shows, I'm interested in talking to people. I want to do an intelligent talk show where you have room to breathe."

The View also features actresses Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd, newscaster Barbara Walters, and U.S. Tv personality Elisabeth Hasselbeck among its co-hosts.