Soon-to-retire Barbara Walters, 84, will bid adieu to daily television on Friday, May 16 with her final co-hosting appearance on “The View” and a two-hour ABC primetime special celebrating her life and her career that evening from 9-11 p.m. ET. In what is referred to as a weeklong celebration, ABC News headquarters in New York City will be named in her honor during a dedication ceremony. And Walters, off-camera, will continue in her role as executive producer of “The View” along with Bill Geddie, her producing partner of more than 25 years.
“In this business there are legends, there are icons, and then there is Barbara Walters,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive of The Walt Disney Company. “She’s a dear friend and colleague as well as someone I deeply admire, and it’s impossible to fully convey her impact and influence on television. She broke barriers, defied convention, made history and set the standard for journalistic excellence for more than 50 years. It’s hard to imagine television without her.”
Anne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, added: “Barbara Walters was one of the first people I met as an ABC page almost 38 years ago. She was fiercely intelligent, impressive and inspiring then, and remains so to this day. I am honored that I’ve had the rare opportunity to work, and learn, from her all these years. Her influence on television, and American culture, will resonate for decades to come.”
Walters began her career in 1961 as a writer and then on air reporter for the “Today Show” on NBC. In 1963, she became a co-host of the program without the official title, but in 1974 NBC officially designated her as the program’s first female co-host. After more than a decade on-air at NBC, Walters joined the ABC News team in 1976 as the first female co-anchor of a news program.