Monday, May 20, 2024

Barbara Walters Retirement: This Time It’s for Real


How do we know Barbara Walters will really announce her retirement this morning? This time, as opposed to in March, it’s a well organized pageant. Walters gave an exit interview to Bill Carter in the New York Times, which was published just after midnight. ThisĀ  morning on “The View” she will make the announcement herself and hope that she gets a standing ovation from the audience (of course).

This is a little different than in March when Walters was “retired” by ABC on the Thursday night before Good Friday when “The View” was in reruns and everyone was away. Walters was surprised then. She’d told close pals that she wanted to leave ABC News but keep doing The View. ABC wanted her to take a victory lap and say goodbye. In this new scenario, she will indeed leave but she gets to keep her name on the The View as Executive Producer.

Walters will go out with a bang at the end of May sweeps in May 2014. There will be lots of specials and apparently one more Oscars special, which she hasn’t done in three years. She can ask all the nominees, one more time, what kind of tree they’d like to be.

In the Times interview, Walters says what she’d like to do after retiring is travel more. There is no mention in that interview or in a statement she issued of “spending more time with family.” At least she’s honest.

But the wrangling that went on since the March faux announcement must have been something. Walters has lived on TV since her debut on The Today Show in 1961. Until Ted Koppel was himself “retired” from ABC’s “Nightline,” Walters used to appear on that show as well as “20/20,” “The View” and occasionally even on “Good Morning America” in addition to her many specials.

Now it will get interesting on “The View.” Walters evidently wanted Joy Behar to leave, according to sources, and got her wish. She also wanted Elisabeth Hasselbeck out. My sources insisted that the latter would make her own announcement in May. So that may come before the month is out as well. But now it will an afterthought.

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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