A Barbara Walters denial — the next best thing to confirmation when reporting about The View? Having stated she was not retiring — not so long before announcing she was — and having emphatically denied a report Elisabeth Hasselbeck was leaving the show — Hasselbeck did — Walters has a slight credibility problem these days. Take this morning’s report that Katie Couric is mulling whether to replace Walters when she gives up her on-air chair on The View. Deadline reported Walters was retiring in May, just before ABC and Walters made the announcement; Walters had scoffed at earlier reports. Couric, who’s already made the move from evening news to daytime talk and is under contract at ABC parent Disney, could slip into the “serious journalist” role on The View and land in an environment more like that of Today, where she enjoyed ratings success, than her current program, which has slipped in the ratings. Disney is in second year of two-year contracts with stations to air Couric’s syndicated daytime talk show — though Katie airs on ABC O&Os in many major markets.
Walters denied the report to the New York Daily News, saying, “She is always welcome as a guest on The View and I was recently a guest on her show, but there is no truth to the rumor that she will be taking my place on The View.” In March, Walters addressed “a particularly false story that keeps getting picked up about Elisabeth’s alleged departure”, adding “we have no plans for Elisabeth to leave the show. ” Hasselbeck starts on Fox & Friends this coming Monday.