Monday, April 22, 2024

Barbara Walters Will Leave TV During May Sweeps, Six Weeks Before End of Season


ABC will retire Barbara Walters on May 16th, in the middle of sweeps. They won’t let her finish out the season for ‘The View,” which usually wraps up around June 30. “The View” has new episodes during July sweeps, as well. But ABC is anxious to finish up Walters’ retirement. They’re not even letting her stay until the end of May!

You may remember the whole scenario last year. ABC leaked that Walters would retire before she had a chance to say anything. Then she said on The View that she’d make her own announcement at her own time, and had nothing to say at the moment.

Subsequently, I spoke to Barbara, who said she had no intention of retiring from anything. Those were her words verbatim.

But ABC had other ideas. Now they’ve also announced they’re named the New York Broadcast Center after Walters. I wonder if the announcer on Diane Sawyer’s evening news will say, “From the Barbara Walters news center in New York” at the start of every show. Seems unlikely.

Today’s ABC News press release says Walters may return to the air occasionally “as the news warrants.” I think that means when Henry Kissinger finally checks out.

Will Barbara really disappear from our screens? She’s addicted to celebrity and broadcasting. Look at Larry King, now doing infomercials and a talk show on a UHF station. Of course, she does turn 85 soon. But age will not stop Barbara Walters.

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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