Barbara Walters is retiring.
In a year.
ABC had no comment on the news, but a source familiar with the conversation says Babs will make the announcement herself — though no time soon, rather, some time in the coming weeks (translation: May sweep).
In the year between the boffo announcement and Babs’ actual retirement, expect to see her “everywhere,” the source said which, loosely translated, means a bunch of specials and other programming events.
It’s unclear how “retirement” is defined, when discussing Walters, what with her wearing so many hats at ABC.
On its daytime talker “The View,” for instance, Babs plays both the role of den mother and of executive producer. Expect to see her step back from appearing on-air on the show with any regularity, though she may pop up from time to time, being, after all, the one who can snag a joint appearance by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Walters is also expected to step back from her on-air duties at ABC News. These days she’s listed as an ABC News anchor/correspondent, and has, for instance, anchored a number of “20/20” broadcasts in the last six months. Babs also was part of ABC News’ lively election night coverage, and had been booked to participate in its coverage of Obama’s inauguration coverage, until she got waylaid by both a knock to the head and chicken pox — our Babs does nothing in half measures!
Speculation about the retirement of Walters — a trailblazer who was the first woman to co-host a news program (“Today”) and first woman to co-anchor a broadcast evening newscast (“ABC Evening News”) back when women were not allowed to fly solo at news divisions and even co-anchoring was considered a Really Big Deal — has kept The Reporters Who Cover Television busy, for years.
In 2004 she entered a state of “semi-retirement”; in 2010 she announced she was retiring from her annual Oscars special interview show; in November of that year, she interviewed Larry King on “The View” on the subject of his retirement from CNN and, true to form, made it about her when she said, “I know when my time’s coming.”
And yet, in December of 2011, when TMZ reported Babs as having said into an open microphone, during a break in an interview with Obama, that she was retiring next year — turns out, she was mistaken!
Because, of course, she did not retire in ’12.