It should be wild on Monday’s edition of “The View.” Over the weekend, Barbara Walters is fighting with ABC over their ambush announcement yesterday that Walters would retire at the end of the 2014 season. Walters had only told friends that she was leaving ABC News. She planned to stay on “The View” and in control of it. Insiders at “The View,” as well as friends, were stunned by the leaked item on Deadline.com yesterday.
But one insider told me: “Whoever is planting these stories knows we’re always dark on Friday. They plant the story on Thursday knowing there’s no show the next day.” Indeed, the leaked story about Joy Behar, also on complicit Deadline, was on Thursday March 7th. It was the exact same set up.
A friend of Walters told me: “Barbara’s not leaving the news. The news is leaving her. They just have no respect for her or for anyone anymore. They’ve moved Nightline to the middle of the night. And when Diane Sawyer’s contract is up, you can expect her to leave as well.”
Walters is 83 years old, and basically in good shape except for her chicken pox and blood clot this past winter. She’s outstayed even the older men–Ted Koppel was kicked out of ABC News long ago, and is now over at NBC. The truth is, young news programmers and executives don’t want old people on their shows. And no one ever expected this generation of broadcasters to live so long, and so well.
“Nothing is set in stone,” says a Walters friend. “It’s not over til it’s over.”