WASHINGTON, April 7, 2014 – Barbara Walters announces her last day as The View co-host will be May 16. At 84 years of age, Walters will continue to executive produce the show and contribute to ABC News.
Walter’s announced her impending retirement May 13, 2013, but did not give a date of her last show. At the time it was reported her retirement would be sometime in 2015. Why the decision to step away a year early has not been mentioned, however as Walters’ says, she has been on camera for more than 50 years.
Walters career will be feted with a two-hour special the evening of May 16 highlighting her life and career while the women of The View, including Whoopi Goldberg, Jenny McCarty and Sherrie Shepard will toast the veteran newscaster for the week preceding Walter’s last day.
The View has had a litany of co-hosts, some more embraced by the audience than others. Meredith Vieira, Star Jones Reynolds, Debbie Matenopoulos and Barbara Walters premiered The View in August of 1997. Viera hosted from 1998 to 2006, as did Star Jones, whose contract was not renewed due to “viewers diminished ratings approval.”
Debbie Matenopoulos (contract not renewed after first season) and Lisa Ling (left to host National Geographic Explorer) were both short-lived co-hosts, however the shortest lived was probably Rosie O’Donnell who left after the 10th Season as she could not come to a contract agreement with the network. However, O’Donnell’s expressed that she did not like producers playing up arguments with co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck even as they created some of The Views’ best ratings.
Hasselbeck left The View in 2013 to join Fox News Channel.
Comedian Joyce Behar, who left the show after 16 seasons was second in longevity to Walters. Behar’s final show, including a This is Your Life style format celebration, aired on August 9, 2013. Behar stated wanting to do other things, including her standup career and a book she was writing, as her reason for leaving the show.
To further honor Walters’ legacy, ABC News’ New York City headquarters will be named in her honor during a dedication ceremony that will take place this spring. Prior to her on-camera departure from The View, the show will toast Walters’ career with a week-long celebration.
Walters’ national broadcast career began in 1961 as a reporter, writer and panel member on NBC’sToday. When she was elevated to co-Anchor on ABC Evening News she became the first female evening news anchor. There was a highly publicized snit by co-Anchor Harry Reasoner because a) Walters would be earning more than he, demanding his salary be increased to $500,000 b) he did not like working with a co-anchor or c) he did not like Walters celebrity journalist status.
A few years later, Walters began reporting for 20/20.
Walters’ career has been groundbreaking, and road paving, for the female journalists that have followed. Seemingly fearless in what she would do, or ask, highlights from her career include crossing the Bay of Pigs with Fidel Castro and conducting the first joint interview with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israel’s Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
She once asked a newly elected Vladimir Putin (2001) if “he ever ordered anyone to be killed.” Barbara explained, “For the record, he said no.”
Walters has sat down with every president and first lady since the Pat and Richard Nixon and placed some of Hollywood’s biggest stars on the hot seat, including Michael Jackson.
In announcing her decision to leave the show she founded almost twenty years ago, Walters said:
“I do not want to appear on another program or climb another mountain. I want instead to sit on a sunny field and admire the very gifted women—and OK, some men, too—who will be taking my place.”
Barbara Walters’ had a gift for making her interviewees cry and many a guest including General Norman Schwarzkopf and Oprah Winfrey watered up when speaking with the gifted journalist.
Related News: Rumors are that The View’s Sherrie Shepard, who joined the show in 2007, is considering leaving the show as well amidst concerns that she may be replaced as Walters’ leaves.
An unconfirmed source tells Radar Online that “While it may just be a precaution, Sherri is worried she’ll be out of a job after Barbara leaves,” the source says. “Before Barbara leaves, she’ll want to make sure the panel is perfect and Sherri is concerned that could mean letting a few people go.”