MAKERS Profile

Barbara Walters

First Woman Co-Anchor of Network Evening News

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Barbara Walters on breaking barrier after barrier in TV news, the off-camera struggle, and women's support.
Barbara Walters is easily America’s most celebrated interviewer who, in May 2013, announced she would retire from TV journalism in 2014. She has spoken with more statesmen and stars than any other journalist in history and earned more accolades and acclaim than virtually anyone appearing on one of her famous "Barbara Walters Specials." Walters began her career more than five decades ago as a writer on NBC’sToday show and within a year was developing, writing, and editing her own reports and interviews. She became the show’s co-host—unprecedented for a woman—in 1963, but waited almost eleven years for the network to name her officially as such. Walters was among the NBC News team that went to the People’s Republic of China to cover the visits of Presidents Nixon in 1972 and Ford in 1975.    The following year, ABC caused a "battle of the sexes" sensation by hiring her away for ABC Evening News and making her, at once, the first woman to co-anchor an evening network newscast and the highest-paid figure in TV journalism. She served as co-host of 20/20 for 25 years and has interviewed every American president and First Lady since Richard Nixon. In 1977, Walters’ massive visibility and stature helped her make journalistic—and world—history by arranging the first joint interview with Egyptian President Anwar Al Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Another “first” she accomplished was an hour-long primetime conversation with Cuban President Fidel Castro. She is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and she hasn’t stopped yet. Walters remains an ABC News correspondent and is co-host and executive producer of ABC Daytime's The View, a program she created.

More From Barbara

Men Pitching In
It may not be perfect, but Walters believes balance is easier today, especially with the right man in your life.

Domestic Dads
Walters reflects on prejudices that may keep men from taking on an equal share in parenting.

Outlasting Harry
Harry Reasoner may not have welcomed Walters as his co-anchor, but their boss bet on Walters in the end.

Staking Fair Ground
Walters recalls having to fight for the big interviews and how she earned her reputation as "a pushy cookie."

Couldn't Be Men
Walters on The View and how it would never work with men.

Katharine Hepburn's Work/Life Balance
Katharine Hepburn thought you couldn't have it all.  Walters hopes times have changed.

No Safety Net
Walters reflects on what really drove her to succeed.

Fending For Yourself Back Then
At the start of her career, Walters had only one choice when facing problems at work.

“Baba Wawa”
Walters on her reaction to SNL's famous "Baba Wawa" sketch and her daughter's precocious advice.

“I Take Full Credit for Oprah”
How Barbara Walters inadvertently helped Oprah get her early gigs.

A Surprise Letter
At Walters' lowest point, she was saved by a note she received from a surprise, celebrity fan. 

Getting to Write for the Men
Walters recalls the breakthrough moment when she was trusted with jobs no woman had been trusted with before.