During lengthy remarks at the top of Monday's program, Walters addressed the issue, which has been following her for months. Yes, she is retiring next year. But she was quick to clarify: "I'm not walking into the sunset."
She will continue to serve as co-executive producer of "The View," the program she helped launch, and she will return for special occasions. But she won't be a regular on-camera presence on that show, or any show.
Walters, who was hospitalized earlier this year with a rare case of adult chicken pox and underwent open-heart surgery in 2010, says she made the decision to retire on her own and was in fine shape, healthwise. The 83-year-old newswoman says she isn't interested in appearing on any more programs. "I want instead to sit in a sunny field and admire the very gifted women -- and OK, some men too -- who will be taking my place."
Walters made the announcement in front of a VIP audience, including Ben Sherwood, president of ABC News; Vicki Dummer, executive vice president of ABC Media Group; ABC Television President Anne Sweeney; ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee; and Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger.
Iger recalled his early days with the company as a production assistant, when he had to deliver a package to Walters' dressing room and met her for the first time. When Walters mentioned that he was set to retire from Disney in 2015, she asked what the two of them were going to do.
"The two of us love to dance, I say we go on 'Dancing With the Stars!'" Iger responded.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also made a surprise appearance on the show to praise Walters.
Reports surfaced in March that she would be stepping down from "The View," but Walters denied them. Now the countdown is officially on for Walters fans to get their last looks in.
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