After a legendary 52-year career in broadcast journalism, Barbara Walters is getting ready to announce her retirement in the coming weeks, Deadline.com is reporting.
Walters, 83, plans to retire in May 2014, according to Deadline, who claims that ABC has a plan in place to send Barbara off in style.
The face of ABC News and a trailblazer for female journalists, Walters will be leaving on “her own terms” and is expected to receive a huge, celebratory send-off, with a series of retrospectives and TV specials leading up to her final broadcast.
It is unclear if Walters is going into full retirement, or if she will continue to have a presence at ABC in some capacity, such as being featured in the occasional TV special.
There has been widespread speculation for months (years, actually) that “The View” matriarch finally may be ready to step down, just as the talk-show panel’s cast shake-up has captivated headlines. Joy Behar will depart the program in August, while rumors that Elisabeth Hasselbeck may not be offering her controversial “View” point for much longer refuse to go away.
Rumors that Walters was contemplating walking away from her pioneering career date as far back as December 2011, when TMZ reported that while interviewing President Obama, Walters leaned over during a break (into an open mic) and said, “I need one more interview with you because I’m retiring next year.”
The whispers started up again in January after Walters was hospitalized after a fall in Washington, DC, and then came down with the chickenpox.
Walters first joined ABC News in 1976 as the first woman to co-host the network news. After 25 years as co-host and chief correspondent for “20/20,” Walters left the show in September 2004 to launch the daytime talk show, “The View.”