US television news icon Barbara Walters, 83, laughed off reports of her imminent retirement Monday, indicating she has no immediate plans to draw a line under her long and storied career.
Chatting with Whoopi Goldberg and other fellow co-hosts of her ABC daytime talk show “The View,” a vivacious Walters said “nothing is going on” regarding her future after more than a half-century on US television.
“There was an assumption I would be making an announcement today. However, here I am and I have no announcement to make,” she said to loud applause from the studio audience.
“But I do want to say this: if and when I might have an announcement to make, I would do it on this program, I promise.”
The New York Times, quoting “an executive familiar with the newswoman’s plans,” reported Thursday that a formal announcement of Walters’ retirement would probably be made on “The View” in May.
The Hollywood Reporter, a showbiz trade journal, meanwhile said it had been told by its sources that Walters — who weathered a bout of chicken pox at the start of this year — was poised to retire in May 2014.
Walters did not address either time frame in her remarks Monday, nor did she explain why she or ABC let four days go by before reacting to the reports.
In a career spanning more than half a century, Walters has sometimes made news herself.
In 1976 she became the first woman ever to anchor a US evening network newscast, and her interviews with entertainers and politicians, notably on ABC’s “20/20″ news magazine program, were often must-see viewing.