Lisa Ling is setting the record straight on Barbara Walters‘ departure from The View.
As you know, the legendary journalist passed away in December of last year, leaving behind an incredible TV legacy. She started her career at NBC in 1953 before she moved to ABC in the 70s. She became one of the world’s pre-eminent interviewers. And after all those decades in the biz, she revolutionized daytime TV in 1997 by creating The View. She hosted the roundtable show for 17 seasons until 2014 when she finally decided to retire. Or at least that’s what we were told — according to a former co-host the story is a little bit different.
In an interview with The Cut last month, Lisa Ling recalled a conversation she had with Barbara in 2014 during filming of her last episode of the talk show. According to the 49-year-old journalist, she leaned over to Barbara during a commercial break and said:
“Barbara, in a couple of months, are you going to be lounging in a hammock in Tahiti?”
To which the then 84-year-old replied in a whisper:
“They’re making me quit.”
The This Is Life host said she’d “never shared this with anyone” — and we can see why! It would’ve definitely caused a huge stir in the media at the time. Heck, it’s shocking as hell now! But after the news legend’s passing, we guess she feels more comfortable being open?
Barbara certainly didn’t. She played along with the network’s story — during the same episode she maintained she was “looking forward” to retiring:
“I’m looking forward to not having a schedule. I’ve always had a schedule. I’m not sure I’d know what it would be like.”
Was this a lie? Did she really want to stay and ABC wasn’t letting her? Hmm…
Before her retirement in 2013, she spoke to The Los Angeles Times and said she didn’t want to work on any other show:
“I do not want to appear on another program or climb another mountain. I want to instead sit on a sunny field and admire the very gifted women — and OK, some men too — who will be taking my place.”
But did she mean she didn’t want to work a different show — but would have kept working on The View?? She also told The Guardian the same year:
“It’s been a joyful, rewarding, challenging, fascinating and occasionally bumpy ride and I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s my decision, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and this is what I want to do.”
It seems like after her retirement she decided to stick to the narrative that it was her decision — but beforehand, according to Lisa, it was a different story. Was she just towing the company line while being put out to pasture? What a sad thought…
Our question is, why would they make her quit? Ageism? Or maybe her declining health? Variety reported shortly after her death in 2022 that she’d been suffering from significant memory loss:
“Barbara would have never retired from TV if she could have stayed on forever. But as she got into her late 80s, her health deteriorated.”
What do U think, Perezcious readers? Do you believe Barbara was protecting the network in her final years? Did they do her dirty after all she gave them?? Let us know in the comments (below).