Meredith Vieira says she called former boss Barbara Walters yesterday -- telling her that a quote attributed to Vieira calling "The View" a "joke" was taken out of context.

"i did call Barbara because I was very upset, and she was upset, too," Vieira told The Post.

Vieira, interviewed in Time magazine, was asked about former co-host Star Jones' stormy departure from "The View" last June.

"I feel very sad for everything that's happened and for everybody involved," Vieira told the magazine. "I'm proud of the work we did there, but it's not a good time in the history of that show.

"It's hard to watch. It sort of became a joke."

Vieira says Walters was understanding of the situation during their morning phone chat yesterday.

"She said [the 'joke' quote] 'doesn't sound like you, but if it was you, I'll have to hurt your husband,' " Vieira said.

"I think she's used to things being taken out of context."

Walters was on vacation and unavailable for comment.

Vieira said her "joke" comment was meant to describe, in her opinion, the way in which the media was treating "The View" in the weeks following Jones' exit.

"I felt that the media was turning ['The View'] into a joke, not that the show was a joke," Vieira said.

On Sept. 13, Vieira starts her new job as Matt Lauer's co-host on "Today." She was already gone from "The View" when Jones made her unexpected announcement.

"In those days following Star's departure, in particular, it became a feeding frenzy, and I felt the media was turning the show into a joke . . . that it was becoming fodder for lots of mean-spirited articles," Vieira said.

"I found that hurtful. There was lots of ridicule, which I felt was unfair to lots of wonderful people there."

Rosie O'Donnell, Vieira's replacement on "The View," makes her co-hosting debut Sept. 5.

"Quite frankly, I think the show is going to shine in the fall," Vieira said.

Time editors yesterday appended an online mea culpa regarding Vieira's "joke" quote.

"[Vieira] assures Time that in no way were her comments meant to be insensitive or derogatory about a program she takes great pride in having built and been associated with for the last nine years," it read in part.