Barbara Walters to retire next year


Barbara WaltersThe media icon plans to retire next year, ending a TV career that began more than 50 years ago and made her a trailblazer in news and daytime TV. Someone who works closely with Walters told The AP/Seattle Times the plan is for her to retire in May 2014 after a series of special programs saluting her career.

Walters, 83, was hospitalized in January after falling and cutting her head while leaving a party in DC and remained out of work after developing the chickenpox. Largely retired from ABC News already, her main work is at ABC’s “The View,” the daytime hit she created in 1997.

Her TV career began in 1961, when she was hired as a writer for the “Today” show. She graduated quickly to on-air work and became the show’s co-host before leaving in 1976 to become co-anchor of ABC’s evening news with Harry Reasoner — the first woman in such a role for a television network.

The pairing ended quickly and Walters settled into a role as ABC News’ cajoler-in-chief, scoring headlining interviews with heads of state and stars of the day.

She regularly did interview specials, including an annual show with the most fascinating people of the year, and was co-host of “20/20” for two decades, much of the time with Hugh Downs.

The formal announcement will probably be made in May on “The View,” an ABC executive who spoke on condition of anonymity told The New York Times.

See the AP/Seattle Times story here.

RBR-TVBR observation: We doubt this will be the complete end for Walters’ TV career. Expect specials and show appearances to surface from time to time, but certainly not in the day-in-day-out fashion that she’s been able to keep up for so long.