Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Barbara Walters “Is Not Leaving the News, the News is Leaving Barbara Walters”


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 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.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
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.

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