The day has arrived: After five decades of television, 150 prime-time specials and 3,800 episodes of the “The View” (the show she created in 1997), veteran broadcast journalist Barbara Walters signed off TV this morning in an emotional hour of guest stars. So in case you missed the grand farewell episode of “The View,” here’s a rundown of the biggest names and what happened:
11:01 a.m.: Whoopi Goldberg, Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd walk out on stage to much applause. Jenny McCarthy points to her face to show us she’s already crying. She’s the saddest, she wins!
11:02 a.m.: “This is the biggest day in the history of ‘The View’ because making her final walk-out as co-host of the ‘View’… the wonderful, the fabulous, the woman who hired everyone at this table … the amazing Barbara Walters!” Walters walks out to wild applause, and no one lets her sit down, as they start chanting: “Bar-bara! Bar-bara! Bar-bara!”
11:04 a.m.: Walters looks a little teary, and starts to introduce her entourage (her daughter, ABC brass, the woman who takes care of her every day) when Whoopi cuts her off that the show is so jam-packed with surprise guests that they don’t have time for all this small talk. First surprise guest: Hillary Clinton! She walks out as the two embrace. “Oh, my friend,” Clinton says, as Walters pats her on the cheek. “You look terrific here,” Walters said. “Why don’t you take my place on the show?”
11:06 a.m.: Shepherd addresses Clinton as “Hillary,” and Walters chides her for it. “Hillary is fine,” Clinton assures her. Shepherd goes on to say that Clinton has made the Walters Most Fascinating List four times, the most of anyone. “I don’t know what we’re all going to do without you going one place or another, asking the questions we would like to ask,” Clinton says. Advice for Barbara? Clinton says to relax, and then shares what she does on her down time: ” I go out with my dogs, my husband and I take long walks.”
11:07 a.m.: “As long as you’re here, let me ask you a question,” Walters says, obviously addressing big one: “Are you going to run?” “I am running … around the park!” Clinton says, to much laughter. (Huh?) Moving on to safer topics: What does she want to be called when Chelsea has the baby? Grandma? Nana? President Clinton? Clinton laughs and says she doesn’t know. “I gotta meet this little person,” she says. Whoopi suggests “Granny,” which is what her grandkids call her.
11:09 a.m.: Time to plug Clinton’s new book, “Hard Choices.” It’s mostly about her four years of secretary of state, but it’s also personal. Clinton says she just visited the new 9/11 Museum that morning, and talks about reflecting on the day they caught Bin Laden. Clinton discusses the book a little more, but then it’s time for commercial— and Clinton is pretty busy, so she has to go.
11:15 a.m.: Sherri points out that Walters has raised the art of the interview so much that the only person who can interview her? Barbara Walters. No problem — then we get a previously-taped bit with Walters interviewing “herself,” a.k.a. Cheri Oteri in a lookalike costume. Sample questions that Walters asks “Walters”: When you conceived ‘The View,’ you said you wanted to have a show about women with different views. How did that go? “Little did I know I would be surrounded by four cackling hens all speaking over each other where I couldn’t get a word in edgewise!” Oteri/Walters cracks.
11:16 a.m.: The bit goes on for awhile as Oteri/Walters holds up a book of her memoir, “Audition,” and gets in some jokes about Walters’ details of her affair with married Massachusetts senator Edward Brooke. Oteri/Walters makes up other elaborate stories about Walters life, but does give a real shout-out to “The View” long-time executive producer, Bill Geddie. Oteri/Walters also shares her post-retirement plans: “I’d like to get a Costco card.”
11:23 a.m.: Now it’s time for special guest … Michael Douglas! He’s one of Walters’ favorite guests, as he’s been on the show 12 times. Also, fun fact, Walters, Michael Douglas and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, all share the same birthday: Sept. 25. Anyway, Douglas goes on to echo Clinton that Walters should relax, but that if Clinton runs, Walters should definitely be her VP.
11:25 a.m.: Douglas is turning 70 this year, but he turns the conversation back to Walters. “Your career is the best, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a great person … the thing is, Barbara, you’re an extraordinary person inside and out.” He also drops the fact that Walters throws the best parties ever. McCarthy is miffed she’s never been invited to one of Walters’s famous dinner parties, and Douglas brags about how awesome they are: Walters decides the topic of conversation, and then goes around the table and grills each person on their opinions. And you get yelled at if you start a side conversation. Fun! But the food and company are great, so there’s that.
11:27 a.m.: “You treated me as a young actor with the same amount of respect as she treat presidents,” Douglas notes approvingly. He gives us an update on his father, Kirk Douglas: “He’s fantastic, he’s 97 years old,” he says as the audience bursts into applause.
11:33 a.m.: Time to grill Douglas about his relationship with Catherine Zeta-Jones — the two took a break last year but appear to be back together. “Yeah, we’re good,” he says. “I think if both parties want to work it, it works out.” In fact, they’re about to go on a four-day vacation today to get away from the kids. He plugs his latest movie, too: “And So It Goes,” with Diane Keaton. McCarthy asks him who was the better kisser, Matt Damon or Diane Keaton? Thanks for your contributions to this program, Jenny McCarthy.
11:39 a.m.: Now, a clip package of a bunch of local ABC affiliate newscasters across the country who say they owe their careers to Walters for breaking new ground for women in broadcast journalism. And, speaking of women who say they owe Walters: Please welcome Oprah Winfrey! Wild applause.
11:41 a.m.: “I had to be here for your last show to celebrate you because of what you have meant to me,” Oprah explains to a genuinely surprised Walters. “You have literally meant the world to me.” Oprah thanks her for being a pioneer, being the first in the room to knock down the door, break down barriers, and pave the road that women journalists have walked down. “I thank you for the courage it took every day to get up and keep doing it.”
11:42 a.m.: “You’re really are the reason why we’re all here, you’re the reason why I wanted to be in television,” Oprah adds. She’s the third person who tells Walters to relax. “I want you to have everything that your heart desires,” she says. “You deserve it.” Oprah tells the story of when she auditioned for her first TV job, and just imitated Walters. Then: Promoting Walters’ primetime special Friday night, “Barbara Walters: Her Story.” We see a clip of Walters talking about being the first female anchor of a network news program, “ABC Evening News,” and how much her co-anchor, Harry Reasoner, resented that she was there next to him.
11:46 a.m.: Oprah thanks Walters again for shattering the glass ceiling in journalism and influencing women in the industry. A timely topic, for sure. “We all proudly stand on your shoulders, Barbara, as we honor you,” Oprah says, gearing up for the next big surprise.
11:48 a.m.: Speaking of all the women she’s inspired, here they are! And, with their names announced in that special Oprah way, out walks: Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts, Elizabeth Vargas, Lara Spencer, Amy Robach, Deborah Roberts, Juju Chang, Katie Couric, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Tamron Hall, Maria Shriver, Cynthia McFadden, Meredith Vieira, Kathie Lee Gifford, Hoda Kotb, Jane Pauley, Gayle King, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Gretchen Carlson, Deborah Norville, Paula Zahn, Lisa Ling, Connie Chung and Joan Lunden. Huge applause as a line forms and Walters stops to hug every single one woman.
11:50 a.m.: “This is my legacy!” Walters says, gesturing at everyone. “These are my legacy, and I thank you all.” Up next: Barbara gets the final words.
11:55 a.m.: Here’s Barbara Walters’s final speech.
How do you say good-bye to something like 50 years in television? The good news is that I will have time now to get Botox. But now that I’m no longer going to be on the air I don’t need Botox. But starting soon I may be available for supermarket openings and charity auctions. For a $10 bid, you could have lunch with me. For a $20 bid, you don’t have to.
There will also be time now for me to not have to rise at 4 a.m. as I did for 13 years to do a morning show. No need anymore to head a news magazine like “20/20″ as I did for something like a quarter of a century. Makes my head ache. No need to think of covering my head when interviewing such majesties as the King of Saudi Arabia. And no need to be apprehensive about interviewing the non-majesty, the president of Syria. But also no feeling of the peace that warmed me when I met with the Dalai Lama or the sense of accomplishment trying to navigate between the competing heads of Egypt and Israel. What an honor to have questioned every U.S. president and first lady from Richard and Pat to Barack and Michelle.
So how do you walk away from glamorous specials with the Toms, Hanks and Cruise, or flirt with Clint Eastwood? Maybe it’s my time for him. Or pay homage to one-of-a-kind women like Bette Davis and Angelina Jolie? And how do you create a television show called “The View” that puts together these wonderful women, all of them over the years and especially this group who have shared their contrasting opinions for almost 18 years now?
And I will remain executive producer on “The View” along with Bill. How you work for 25 years with a partner like Bill Geddie? The special guy who has produced something like 4,000 episodes of “The View” and over 100 primetime specials with me, not to mention over the years sipping over 1,000 martinis with me, but who’s counting? And also how could you be part of a cutting-edge news department for 38 years? Not that it was all sunshine and valentines. True, I was the first female co-host of a network news program, but it’s also true, I was a flop. As you heard, my male co-host didn’t want a partner and neither did the audience. I was drowning, I was gasping for air and then someone threw me that life preserver called specials, with the biggest stars in news and show business, and I learned how to swim again.
And finally, how proud I am when I see all the young women who are making and reporting the news. If I did anything to help that happen, that’s my legacy. So now having had this amazing career, how can I just walk away and say good-bye? This way, from the bottom of my heart to all of you with whom I have worked and to all of you who have watched and been at my side for so many years, I can say: Thank you. Thank you. But then who knows what the future brings? Maybe instead of goodbye, I should say à bientôt. Which in French means, “see you later.” So, à bientôt.
11:58 a.m.: And would this be “The View” without a plug from Walters? Absolutely not. Walters once again urges everyone to tune in to her prime-time special tonight on ABC. “Her Story,” from 9 to 11 p.m. “I haven’t seen it, I really haven’t but I hear it’s terrific,” Walters says.
11:59 a.m.: Then she finally signs off: “And then when all that is done, I can take a deep breath and enjoy my view. Thank you.”
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