It was quite a sight. Women from all networks coming together on the set of The View to celebrate and thank retiring broadcaster Barbara Walters for the road she’s paved for female journalists everywhere.
As two dozen guests, including Diane Sawyer, Jane Pauly, Connie Chung, Robin Roberts and Katie Couric, — as well as all 11 current and former co-hosts of the morning program — gathered around The View table, Barbara didn’t say goodbye, but instead said, “Thank you, thank you…I’ll be in touch…see you later.”
Most of the jokes during the broadcast suggested the 84-year-old could never really leave television. Even comedian Thomas J. Kelly, who warms up the show’s audience, couldn’t help but tease that everyone should come back on June 3 for “Barbara Walters’ grand return!”
The 11 ladies who have co-hosted “The View” — Front Row: Meredith Vieira, Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, Jenny McCarthy. Back Row: Star Jones, Debbie Matenopoulos, Joy Behar, Barbara Walters, Lisa Ling, Elisabeth Hasslebeck, Rosie O’Donnell.
For her final View interviews, Barbara chose Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton and token male Michael Douglas, though it was fellow pioneer and talk show host, Oprah, who focused most on the journalist’s legacy.
“You were the first in the room to knock down the door and pave the road we all walk on,” she said.
In a poignant moment, Barbara described the time when she became the first woman to co-anchor a news program, much to the distain of partner, Harry Reasoner.
The pair co-anchored the ABC Evening News in the mid-’70s and Harry made no secret of his dislike for Barbara.
“I was drowning without a life preserver,” she recalled. “But then I started my specials and I learned to swim again.”
While looking around at the women broadcasters who’ve come since her debut, the icon sweetly said, “These are my legacy. I have to remember this on the bad days, because this is the best.”
The show’s original co-hosts when it premiered in 1997 — From left: Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar, Debbie Matenopoulos, Barbara Walters.
Though she will no longer be seated at the table, Barbara will continue to executive produce The View, but currently has her sights set on a vacation to Berlin.
“When I’ve gone places, I’ve only seen a studio,” she mused. “Now I want to see the rest.”