Barbara Walters says she wants to retire from TV before people get tired of seeing her.
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It was the first-ever visit to the L.A.-based “Kimmel” show for Walters, who is arguably ABC’s biggest star. She happens to be in Los Angeles because “The View” is originating this week from Disneyland. Kimmel himself was a guest on the first “View” from Disneyland on Monday morning.
Later, on his show, Kimmel asked Walters why she’s retiring. “I want to leave while people say, ‘I will miss her’,” said Walters. “I don’t want them to say [here, she adopted an annoyed voice]: ‘Is she still on?’ So I sort of think that [next] May is a good time.”
As previously announced, Walters is taking this entire season of “The View” to say good-bye. She is relinquishing her on-air role on the show, but says she will continue as executive producer of “The View,” along with Bill Geddie. Kimmel also asked her if she will step back from some of her other shows too, such as her year-end roundup of the year’s “most fascinating” people. She didn’t answer yes or no to that question; in other words, she evaded it.
For his part, Kimmel — a savvy observer of television — made a good point about Walters and her longevity. Said he, “I think you could go on forever. And I think people are going to be upset when you leave. I honestly do, because there are certain things … You still do your job very, very, very well and there are certain things that we count on. It’s almost like a neighbor or something and one of them is you being on television all the time. Most of us have never lived a day that you were [not] on television everyday.”
In Part Two of their interview, Walters noted that her interviews of U.S. presidents go back to Richard Nixon. And she also named three people she’d like to interview — two of whom have never been interviewed on television ever. Those two are England’s Queen Elizabeth and the Pope. “No Pope has done a television interview,” she said.
The third person is someone Walters has interviewed before — Monica Lewinsky. The interview, seen in March 1999 on “20/20,” drew an audience of 70 million, a record for a TV interview. “Another interview I would like to do, because it was the highest-rated interview of all time, was the interview we did with Monica Lewinsky,” Walters said. “Everybody else from that period has been able to move on [but] Monica has not.”
In Part Three, Kimmel tried to get Walters to name the “View” co-host she likes the least, but Walters avoided answering that question too.