As expected, ABC’s Barbara Walters announced her retirement on “The View” today. The show kicked off with Walters introducing a brief career retrospective, followed by her formal announcement:
“I have been on television–continuously–for over 50 years,” Walters said. “But in the Summer of 2014, a year from now, I plan to retire from appearing on television at all. It has been an absolutely joyful, rewarding, challenging, fascinating and occasionally bumpy ride, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I am perfectly healthy, this is my decision and I have been thinking about it for a long time. This is what I want to do.”
The audience in “The View” studio was filled with executives, including ABC News president Ben Sherwood (“Not only the best president of a news division but also the tallest,” Walters joked), ABC executive VP Vicki Dummer, ABC entertainment president Paul Lee, Disney-ABC TV group president Anne Sweeney and Disney CEO Bob Iger, who shared the story of when he first met Walters back in 1976.
He was a production assistant, and was asked to bring something to Walters’ dressing room. He wasn’t expecting her to be there, but she was, and she was very kind to him.
“From then on you called me Jim, my name is Bob,” he quipped, adding more seriously:
“When I think of you I think of the word singular,” Iger said. “In this business, I don’t think anyone has come close to accomplishing what you have accomplished, and I am not sure anyone will. And not just in the volume of the work and the breadth of it all, but in the quality of it. So not only as CEO and chairman of the company, but as a friend and colleague for 40 years, from the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.”
“Thank you Jim,” Walters joked in response.
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg than came out to honor his friend Walters.
More from Barbara Walters’ comments:
I have been on television–continuously–for over 50 years! But in the Summer of 2014, a year from now, I plan to retire from appearing on television at all. It has been an absolutely joyful, rewarding, challenging, fascinating and occasionally bumpy ride, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I am perfectly healthy, this is my decision and I have been thinking about it for a long time. This is what I want to do.
There will be special occasions, and I will come back back, I am not walking into the sunset, but I don’t want to appear on another program, I dont want to climb another mountain, I want instead to sit in a sunny field and admire th gifted women–and ok some men too–who will be taking my place. most of all i want to thank everyone here. i have had an amazing career, beyond anything I could have ever imagined, and I hope I may also have inspired some other women to make television, in front or behind the camera as a career. I smile when some young woman says I grew up watching you on TV. Is is their time now.