Last week, news trickled out that longtime television interviewer Barbara Walters planned to retire next spring. It seemed, perplexingly, both inconceivable—can TV news exist without her?—and reasonable. Walters, 83, has had a series of health issues in the last year, including a bout of the chicken pox earlier this year. After 52 years on the small screen, it made sense that she’d be ready for a break.
The announcement had me wondering: Would she name a successor like Dick Clark did with his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve? Hand over the reigns of Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People? And most importantly: Would this finally mean the end Walters’ biggest career mistake? Without Walters, would ABC demand the cancellation of the most odious show on television, The View?
I didn’t have to ponder long before my dreams of a View-less existence were crushed. Yesterday, Walters returned to The View and said, “The paparazzi were outside my home today … however, here I am, and I have no announcement to make,” Walters told the audience and her co-panelists on “The View.” “But I do want to say this: that if and when I might have an announcement to make, I will do it on this program, I promise, and the paparazzi guys—you will be the last to know.” Though she didn’t deny those retirement rumors, Walters’ statement was clear: She’s was going to be around as long as she damn well pleased.
Jezebel commenters wondered if this was Walters’ version of an April Fools Day prank. (If so, she should stick to her day job and stay away from future joke-telling.) What’s disappointing is not that Walters will continue to work—after all, she’s balked at similar rumors in the past—but that The View will continue to exist.
The show, which has been making women look stupid and catty for 16 years, claims to discuss real issues from multiple points of view with the goal of provoking conversations. Instead, it often becomes “an angry, bleeped-out shouting match,” as one Time blogger called it after a controversial segment. It’s trash TV disguised as intellectual discussion and Walters should close up shop and move on.
That doesn’t mean she has to stop working, though. Here, five things she should do in lieu of The View.
1. Seminars for Struggling Anchors
Paging Matt Lauer!
2. Start @BabaWawa.
Walters became Saturday Night Live fodder when Gilda Radner did an impersonation of “Baba Wawa.” Radner died of cancer in 1989 but the impression has followed Walters throughout her career. The natural progression of all beloved characters is on Twitter. Walters doing it herself? So, meta!
3. Perez Hilton Tipster
Surely, she has the cell phone number of every public figure in the known universe. (Last year’s list of Most Fascinating People ran the gamut from One Direction and Honey Boo Boo toPrince William and Chris Christie.)
4. Fox News Commentator
Walters has been a long-time friend of Fox News head, Roger Ailes, since the late 1960s. She’s interviewed eight presidents, spent time with Fidel Castro and Vladimir Putin, and her 1999 conversation with Monica Lewinsky remains the highest-rated news interview in television history. Wouldn’t you just love to see her go head-to-head with Bill O’Reilly?
5. Official Celebrity Bitch-Slapper
When Donald Trump was at the peak of his attention-seeking, asinine behavior during last year’s election, Walters decided enough was enough. “Donald, you’re making a fool of yourself. You’re not hurting Obama. You’re hurting Donald, and that hurts me because you’re a decent man. Stop it. Get off it, Donald.” Think we can get her to publicly shame Chris Brown next?