Barbara Walters said Monday that retirement from her epochal TV career is near, but it’s not happening right away. Walters, who began in TV news on “Today” in 1961, became the medium’s best-known interviewer, and invented a daytime talk show at an age many people would be going fishing, said on “The View” that she will step away from the camera next summer.
Before that, her retirement tour will include TV specials looking back at her work.
The announcement brought the 83-year-old Walters to tears. While not necessarily a surprise, the discussion was alternately saucy and emotional.
“In the summer of 2014, I plan to retire from appearing on television at all,” Walters said.
She’s been through some health problems this year, being hospitalized after a fall taken while leaving a pre-inaugural party in Washington and coming down with chickenpox. She didn’t cite that as a reason for leaving, saying she is in perfect health and isn’t being pushed out.
“I want to leave while people are still saying, ‘why is she leaving?’ instead of ‘why doesn’t she leave?’ ” Walters said.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stopped by to salute Walters on the live telecast. The audience was stocked with brass from ABC and parent company Disney, including Disney CEO Robert Iger. Walters joked with Iger about appearing on “Dancing With the Stars” together.
Taylor, friends will perform at CMT awards
Taylor Swift leads a list of country’s hottest stars set to perform at the CMT Music Awards next month. Swift, Miranda Lambert’s Pistol Annies, Luke Bryan, Hunter Hayes and Little Big Town are the first performers announced for the June 5 awards show. Jason Aldean and Kristen Bell are set to host the fan-voted awards show when it is broadcast live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Lambert, Bryan and Eric Church are this year’s top nominees. Fans can vote in all categories at the music channel’s website through June 2.
Ellington winners: Two first-time contestants have taken the top prizes at Lincoln Center’s 18th annual Essentially Ellington high school jazz band competition. At a Sunday night concert at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, the first place trophy and $5,000 award were presented by JALC artistic director Wynton Marsalis to the Tucson Jazz Institute’s Ellington Big Band directed by Doug Tidaback. Jazz House Kids, a band founded by a nonprofit, jazz education organization in Montclair, N.J., finished second.