Barbara Walters addressed the rumors about her retirement in the first moments of “The View” Monday morning, saying she has “no announcement” to make about that.
Certainly, those words will be widely interpreted as a denial that the 83 year-old TV news legend is planning to retire next year, as Deadline.com reported last week. That story, of course, got picked up everywhere.
But “The View” was in the midst of a two-week break, so Monday’s show was Walters’ first opportunity to comment on the air about the stories.
And, just like they did on March 11, when the ladies of “The View” addressed the stories about Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck leaving the show this summer, the subject of Barbara Walters’ retirement was the very first “Hot Topic” they discussed on this Monday, April 1. (And by the way, the discussion was no April Fool’s Day joke.)
“You know, we just had two weeks off and I don’t know about y’all, but all I heard about in those two weeks was the fabulous Barbara Walters,” Whoopi Goldberg said to start things off. “Barbara, what is going on? Why are you in the news?”
“Well, the point is, that nothing is going on,” Walters said. “And we have … not commented at all [because of the two-week break]. There were many reports last week saying that I was retiring from ABC and there was an assumption that I would be making an announcement today. And the paparazzi were outside of my home. However, here I am and I have no announcement to make.
“But I will say this — that, if and when I might have an announcement to make, I would do it on this program, I promise. And the paparazzi guys, you will be the last to know.”
Our take: We’ve been on the receiving end of so many prepared statements from people in the news that we sense that Walters’ statement Monday on “The View” is not necessarily a straight-up denial that she’s planning a 2014 retirement. All she said was “I have no announcement to make.” That’s not technically a denial of the news. It’s more like a “no comment” than a “strong comment” that she’s either retiring, or she isn’t.
Our guess is: She and ABC are not ready yet to announce this retirement (if there is one) because of its many ramifications — particularly as they affect “The View,” which is Walters’ show. It may also be that ABC and Walters are waiting for a more opportune time to choreograph this announcement, perhaps at the May “upfronts” in New York, when the networks announce their new fall shows. (NBC may also make its Fallon-Leno replacement announcement that same week — a lot to look forward to.)
And on the subject of “The View”: Behar, of course, is leaving this summer — news that was confirmed March 11. On that same day, Walters was adamant that Hasselbeck is not leaving this summer, contrary to reports circulating then. However, the reports about Hasselbeck have persisted since March 11, despite Walters’ show of support. On this Monday (April 1), Walters didn’t mention the Hasselbeck rumors at all.