Home Celebrity AMBUSH! Did ABC Just “Leno” Barbara Walters? She Has No Plans to...

UPDATE: Barbara Walters was totally ambushed by ABC today, my sources say. And the reality is, if she were even contemplating retirement of some kind, either Liz Smith or Cindy Adams would have reported it first. Now every media outlet has picked up this crazy story, and it’s quickly becoming “fact.” Stay turned to see if Walters rebuts. Interesting timing too since “The View” is not live tomorrow, but taped for Good Friday. ABC really played it well.

Earlier: A couple of stories popped up this afternoon in Hollywood columns claiming Barbara Walters was set to announce her retirement. Ha ha. It seems ABC News may have done to Walters what they did to Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and what NBC just did to Jay Leno and Matt Lauer. My source says that Walters had only discussed retiring officially from ABC News, not “The View.” She actually owns a piece of that show.

also read: http://www.showbiz411.com/2013/03/29/barbara-walters-is-not-leaving-the-news-the-news-is-leaving-barbara-walters

But ABC may have decided that the only way to make Walters retire was to announce it and see what happened. It’s too convenient that the two stories were published within a half hour of each other. I’m no particular fan of Walters, but this seemed pretty blatant today. I called a close friend of hers who said, “Barbara has been talking to them about retiring from the news side, but not entertainment.” Indeed, the Walters everyone knows would never, ever completely retire from television. It’s her life.

These stories today were also well timed by someone at ABC who knew that Walters’ personal publicist, Cindi Berger, was out of the country, traveling, and on business elsewhere. Berger’s office was surprised by the afternoon ambush. But this is the Machiavellian way networks conduct themselves these days.

PS Any ABC insider “knowledgeable about the situation” insists that Walters was not ambushed, and that this is exactly what she wanted.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
138 replies to this post
  1. Yes I think so but Barbara will alway’s stay busy and it has been a long and decent relationship Barb if you want to do a piece for us at NewsJet Magazine we are in both magazines are due out sometime in June Trade America Now and NewsJet would love you to guest from time to time.


  2. She changed a lot of things for women in broadcasting, and I truly admire her dedication to her craft. I think it is time for her to retire, if only to take the time to enjoy a different aspect of her life. She has so many interesting adventures in her past, surely exploring them without considering them for broadcast material would provide her with endless entertainment.

  3. Hmm, now maybe Susan Lucci could go back to ABC and fill in for Babs. Most say Lucci is too old but she is about 15 plus years younger than Babawa. and it is hillarious seeing those amazons sit around Ms. Lucci. the View must be close to its end. Lose Babs and Joy and really the base of the show is gone. I mean sadly there is the funny girl, the black lady and the pretty right wing girl and throw in the rest – that is their formula.

  4. Live by the rumor die by the rumor.

    I’m still perplexed as to why Baba a couple years ago felt compelled to admit she had an affair with a married, black congressman or senator. Truly classless and hurtful (to the wife) to boot.

    Baba is a joke; has been from Day One.

    However, I still miss the cute-as-a-button Gilda Radner doing “Baba Wawa.”

  5. I remember when she did a story on a lady that was down on her luck. She actually ended the story with a statement similar to “Someone should give that lady a job.” I thought to myself, you got to be kidding. Why don’t you give her a job, your already a multi millionaire. I think she has a double dose of Focker in her. Fej – Good point, but then we would have more mad cow disease.

  6. My favorite Baba-Wa-Wa story, from a book I wrote:

    Just after the ’76 election, Barbara Walters was dispatched to Plains, Georgia, to visit with Miss Lillian Carter.

    Barbara did a lousy imitation of Mike Wallace, mainly ‘cause the movie stars she interviewed were usually slightly above pond scum in IQ.

    She was bearing down: “Miss Lillian, your son Jimmy says he’ll never lie to the American people. Has he ever lied to you?”

    Miss Lillian gives her the motherly smile a Southern Lady would automatically flash at the mention of a child.

    “Well, maybe a little white lie.”

    Barbara has her now. “Miss Lillian, what is a little white lie?”

    Miss Lillian keeps smiling, a fixed smile, takes a breath, gives Barbara the eye a Southern Lady gives an uppity woman from Manhattan. “Well, ah’l tell you, Miz Waltahs, you remember ‘uh few minutes ago when you came in the room and I stood up and told you how good you looked and how glad I was to see you ….”

  7. Among socialists, there are no true friendships. The people are owned by the party. This will happen to all Journalists and personalities connected to the left. Someone up the ladder has decided that Walters was no longer needed, for whatever reason. I don’t watch the View nor do I waste my time with television. It has no worth to me

  8. Probably the most “real” experience she has had in a long time. Most people get fired with no warning…or even face to face notice.

  9. As I recall Barbwa Wawa got caught playiing hide the salami with Ed Brooke several
    decades ago while Ed was a married man and serving in the US Senate. Hmmmm…..sounds like typical behavior from a typical left wing freak.

  10. “The View” was Barbara’s show–all flaming liberal one-sided views (all against one Conservative).
    I watched it a few times and saw how shallow it really was. Definitely time to go, Barbara!!!

  11. Some people don’t know when to get off the stage. Maybe ABC discovered what I’ve known for years. Saddle up, old gal, and ride off into the sunset.

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