UPDATED EXCLUSIVE: After years of speculation, I hear Barbara Walters may be finally ready to hand up her microphone. I’ve learned a plan has been put in place for Walters to announce her retirement, eyed for May 2014. Fitting for Walters’ status as the grand dame of TV journalism and a signature face of ABC News, I hear she would be given a big sendoff with retrospectives and other special content in the weeks leading to her retirement that would celebrate her 52-year broadcast career. Walters had been determined to leave on her own terms, so it is unclear whether revealing the plans would make her change her mind and whether she would go for a full retirement or keep some TV presence with occasional appearances and specials.
Walters has been a trailblazer for female TV journalists, becoming the first woman to co-host a news program when she got behind the Today desk in 1974 and the first co-anchor of a network evening news broadcast when she joined ABC Evening News in 1976. She also anchored ABC News’ primetime newsmagazine 20/20 for 20 years. (more…)