The New York Times published a report Sunday night revealing Barbara Walters is set to announce her retirement on “The View” on Monday.
The Times was able to interview Ms. Walters, relating:
“It’s time,” Ms. Walters said, previewing the announcement she will make to the national television audience watching her daily program, “The View.”
“I keep thinking of the line from ‘Cabaret,’ ” Ms. Walters said. “ ‘When I go, I’m going like Chelsea.’ When I go there is not going to be any, ‘Please can I have another appearance?’ I don’t want to do any more interviews. I don’t want to do any other programs. I’m not joining CNN. This is it.”
Like Johnny Carson, another television standout who took charge of his exit from the national stage, Ms. Walters is picking her television end date exactly one year in advance: over the next year she will participate in a series of retrospectives on ABC prime-time news programs and her home on “The View,” seeking, she said, “to say goodbye in the best way.”
ABC News confirmed the report in a separate article, the network’s President Ben Sherwood commenting: “There’s only one Barbara Walters…And we look forward to making her final year on television as remarkable, path-breaking and news-making as Barbara herself. Barbara will always have a home at ABC News and we look forward to a year befitting her brilliant career, filled with exclusive interviews, great adventures and indelible memories.”
ABC summarizes some of the highlights of Walters’ groundbreaking career:
Walters began her career in 1961 at NBC’s “Today Show,” where she eventually became a co-host.
“No one was more surprised than I,” she says of her on-air career. “I wasn’t beautiful, like many of the women on the program before me, [and] I had trouble pronouncing my r’s. I still do!”
Still, in 1976, Walters found a new home at ABC “Evening News,” where she became the first female anchor on an evening news program. Three years later, she became a co-host of “20/20.”
At ABC, her interviews were wide-ranging and her access to public figures, unparalleled; Walters crossed the Bay of Pigs with Fidel Castro, conducted the first joint interview with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin. She also developed a reputation for asking tough questions. In one instance, “I asked Vladimir Putin if he ever ordered anyone to be killed,” she recalls. “For the record, he said no.”
Walters says she looks forward to actually traveling, as opposed to jetting to some exotic location for a day to conduct an interview. At 83-years-old, she also denies her recent health problems have anything to do with the decision.
On the contrary, Walters told the New York Times: “I want to leave when I’m still very active and very viable.”
She summarized her future plans for ABC: “I do not want to appear on another program or climb another mountain…I want instead to sit on a sunny field and admire the very gifted women — and OK, some men too — who will be taking my place.”