By Yvonne Villarreal Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES — Barbara Walters is saying goodbye to TV journalism.
After more than half a century in the industry, the veteran ABC News anchor plans to retire next summer, an ABC spokesperson confirmed to the Los Angeles Times on Sunday night. Walters, 83, is set to make it official Monday morning on “The View.”
And the network plans to make good use of her while it can. The legendary TV personality will continue to anchor and report for ABC as well as continue to appear on “The View” and anchor specials throughout the year.
“I am very happy with my decision and look forward to a wonderful and special year ahead both on ‘The View’ and with ABC News,” she said in a statement issued by the network Sunday night. “I created ‘The View’ and am delighted it will last beyond my leaving it.” Walters will retain her executive producer role on the long-running weekday gabfest.
Talk of Walter’s retirement first took hold in late March after she underwent a health scare that included a hospital stay. It later turned out she was diagnosed with chicken pox. At the time, she said simply that she had no announcement to make.
Now she does.
Walters has been a pioneer for women in the television industry. After working her way up from a researcher for NBC’s “Today” show to become co-host of the morning program, she left her 15-year stint at NBC and moved over to ABC, where she would become the first woman to host an evening newscast, teaming with Harry Reasoner on the “ABC Evening News” in 1976. It was the start of a 37-year relationship with the network, which would include co-hosting the evening newsmagazine “20/20” and hosting numerous celebrity-interview specials in prime time.