Barbara Walters’ retirement timetable is none of our business.
“I know when I’m going to do it, and I’m fine about it,” says ABC’s Walters, 82. “When I leave, I’m not going to go do something else or go tackle something else. I have a wonderful, full private life. I will be just fine.”
“The fact is, I’m still working, I feel great and I’m still doing very important stories,” she adds. “It’s been one of my busiest years. I’m on ‘The View’ three times a week, I went to Syria, I interviewed the Obamas before Christmas.”
The first female co-host of ‘Today,’ Walters returns to her former digs this morning as part of the show’s 60th anniversary celebration. She’ll be joined by fellow alums Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel, Tom Brokaw, Jane Pauley and Hugh Downs, among others.
Breaking into the boys club of ‘Today’ hosts was no easy task for Walters in 1974. She had to do it over Frank McGee’s dead body. Literally.
The backstory: McGee had refused to do joint news interviews with Walters, who had sweated her way up from ‘Today Girl’ to reporter. For the veteran newsman, working with a woman “was a humiliation,” according to Walters, and ‘Today’ represented “a demotion.”
In the mindset of that era, TV-women “were supposed to do fashion shows and celebrities,” explains Walters. “When NBC hired me [as a writer-researcher in 1961], I wasn’t an actor or a model and I didn’t sing. It was a huge breakthrough just to put me on.”