Barbara Walters, 83, to retire next year
The television trailblazer’s career on the tube began in 1961, when she was hired as a writer for the “Today” show.
The Associated Press
Tonight in Prime Time
NEW YORK — Barbara Walters plans to retire next year, ending a television career that began more than 50 years ago and made her a trailblazer in news and daytime TV.
Someone who works closely with Walters said the plan is for her to retire in May 2014 after a series of special programs saluting her career. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday.
Walters, 83, was hospitalized in January after falling and cutting her head while leaving a party in Washington, D.C., 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, competing ferociously to land newsmaking 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.
ABC news and entertainment representatives would not comment Thursday and Walters’ publicist, Cindi Berger, did not return requests for comment.
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.