Barbara Walters, the iconic journalist, knew that change was on the horizon. In March 2013, during her 16th season on “The View,” Walters quietly asked ABC executive Anne Sweeney to write down the year 2014 on a piece of paper. It was a significant moment for Walters, who had recently returned to the show after facing various health challenges, including a fall and a battle with chicken pox.
Months later, Walters shared her plans with Sweeney. 2014 would be the year she stepped back from her illustrious broadcasting career. Initially, the network was concerned about losing the pioneering newswoman who co-created and co-hosted “The View,” one of its most successful and controversial shows since 1997.
As time went on, Walters’ health continued to decline. It became clear that the 84-year-old legend could no longer continue working. There was a poignant moment when Walters collapsed into the arms of a stage manager at the end of a show. She was rushed to the greenroom, where paramedics were called. Despite her worries about the incident being leaked to the press, Walters agreed to see a doctor. Miraculously, she returned to the set the next morning, displaying her resilience and determination.
As Walters’ retirement drew near, celebrations began. ABC aired a two-hour primetime special that chronicled her illustrious career. The network’s news division took it a step further by renaming its Upper West Side headquarters the Barbara Walters Building. Even original “View” co-hosts, Meredith Vieira and Star Jones, returned to the show to honor and celebrate Walters’ 17th and final season.
In May 2014, Walters bid farewell to her audience in an emotional episode, featuring special guests Hillary Clinton, Michael Douglas, and Oprah Winfrey. As she said her goodbyes, Walters expressed her excitement to take a deep breath and fully enjoy her view.
Walters didn’t fade into the background for long, though. She made sporadic appearances as a guest co-host in 2014 and 2015 before finally settling into retirement. Her impact on television journalism is immeasurable, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.
Now, at the age of 93, we remember and celebrate the incredible life and career of Barbara Walters, the extraordinary journalist who revolutionized talk shows and news reporting. Let us cherish her legacy and the trail she blazed for future generations of broadcasters.