Barbara Walters is set to make her final appearance as co-host of The View on May 16, ABC News reported Monday. The legendary journalist, who announced last year that she planned to retire this spring, will also be the focus of a two-hour special about her life and career, airing on ABC that night, from 9-11 p.m.
Walters will continue to executive produce The View and will still contribute to ABC News’ coverage.
ABC News headquarters in New York City will also be named in her honor, as the Barbara Walters Building, during a dedication ceremony this spring.
Walters plans to further discuss these plans on Monday’s The View, which will toast her career with a weeklong celebration.
“In this business there are legends, there are icons, and then there is Barbara Walters,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “She’s a dear friend and colleague as well as someone I deeply admire, and it’s impossible to fully convey her impact and influence on television. She broke barriers, defied convention, made history and set the standard for journalistic excellence for more than 50 years. It’s hard to imagine television without her.”
Outgoing Disney/ABC Television Group president Anne Sweeney added: “Barbara Walters was one of the first people I met as an ABC page almost 38 years ago. She was fiercely intelligent, impressive and inspiring then, and remains so to this day. I am honored that I’ve had the rare opportunity to work, and learn, from her all these years. Her influence on television, and American culture, will resonate for decades to come.”
Walters discussed the plans on Monday’s The View, which is set to celebrate her more than 50-year broadcast career during the week of May 12-16.
Wearing a lavender pantsuit, Walters opened the show with details about her final View episode and ABC special. But she assured viewers that she wouldn’t be leaving TV altogether.
“A lot of you have put up with me since your childhood, and you’re not free of me entirely,” she said.
In addition to remaining a lifelong member of ABC News, contributing as the news warrants, Walters noted that she’ll remain an executive producer on The View, saying to her co-hosts “I can keep my eye on all of you.”
She added that this would allow her to watch executive producer Bill Geddie “get older and balder as I get older and blonder.”
Walters and her co-hosts then shared their appreciation and admiration for each other, with Sherri Shepherd marveling at how many talk shows now resemble the ABC daytime show’s multipanelist format. Walters’ co-hosts later gave her a standing ovation.
She acknowledged that she’s sad to leave but that “it feels right for me,” repeating what she’s previously said about wanting to leave before people complained about her being on television too long.