“Never mind,” ABC said — or words to that effect — about last year’s announcement Babs Walters was ending her 10 Most Fascinating People Of Fill In The Year franchise. This morning, the network said it has decided to bring back Babs and her long-running special and that this year she will interview Neil Patrick Harris — who just happens to have been named host of the next Oscarcast which will be broadcast by ABC — as well as Chelsea Handler, Scarlett Johansson and — you know it’s coming — Oprah Winfrey.
The special will air December 14 from 9-11 PM ET.
“I was absolutely delighted when ABC approached me to do another year of ‘10 Most Fascinating People’,” Walters said in today’s announcement. “I know we said last year was our last, but there are just too many fascinating people out there… and you never pass up the opportunity to interview Oprah, Neil, Chelsea, or Scarlett.”
Since its first airing in 1993, the franchise has been a ratings-getter. Last year it dominated its 90-minute time period with total viewers and all key adult demos, and drew its largest overall audience in three years — in part because viewers thought it was the very last 10 Most Fascinating People broadcast.
Last year, ABC said that “for Barbara Walters’ final installment of her annual special, she chose Hillary Clinton as the Most Fascinating Person of 2013.” It tied a nice bow on the franchise, Clinton having been Walters’ first No. 1 pick when The 10 Most Fascinating People Of The Year specials debuted in 1993. In that interview, Clinton launched her “I Haven’t Made Up My Mind Yet” 2016 presidential campaign.
Walters and Bill Geddie exec produce and Geddie directs this year’s special.