Trailblazing Walters to leave TV in 2014
Barbara Walters plans to retire next year, ending a television career that began more than a half century ago and made her a trailblazer in news and daytime TV. Someone who works closely with Walters said the plan is for her to retire in May 2014 after a series of special programs saluting her career.
Walters, 83, was hospitalized earlier this year after falling and cutting her head while leaving a party in Washington and remained out of work after developing the chickenpox. Largely retired from ABC News already, her main work is at “The View,” the daytime hit she created in 1997.
Her television career began in 1961 when she was hired as a writer for the “Today” show. She graduated quickly to on-air work and became the show’s co-host before leaving in 1976 to become co-anchor of ABC’s evening news with Harry Reasoner – the first woman in such a role for a television network.
It wasn’t clear when Walters would announce her plans. Late spring is the time TV networks generally reveal their plans for the upcoming year so advertisers can lock in commercial time.
Bell, Shepard experience parenthood
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are new parents of a baby girl. The engaged actors took to Twitter on Thursday to announce the arrival of their daughter, Lincoln Bell Shepard.
Bell, 32, who stars on Showtime’s “House of Lies,” tweeted that her “new roommate poops her pants and doesn’t pay rent.” She closed with, “welcome baby Lincoln.” Shepard, 38, is a star of NBC’s “Parenthood.” The couple have been engaged since 2009.
No interest in ‘Tonight,’ Lopez says
Amid rumors of another “Tonight” show shake-up, comedian George Lopez says he has no desire to return to the late-night talk show scene. Lopez said he had a great two-year run as a late-night talk show host. But, he said, “I’m out of that thing.”
“I know all those guys. They’re all good guys, but that’s a tough job. There are a lot of tough jobs in TV. That could be one of the toughest, hosting a show every night,” Lopez said Wednesday night.
Lopez wound up losing his cable television gig in August 2011 in a trickle-down effect from the last time the “Tonight” seat changed hands. TBS canceled “Lopez Tonight” after its second-year viewership dropped 40 percent when Lopez moved his show back an hour to midnight to make room for Conan O’Brien.
The birthday bunch
Comedian Eric Idle is 70. Actor Brendan Gleeson is 58. Actor Christopher Lambert is 56. Rock singer Perry Farrell (Porno for Pyros; Jane’s Addiction) is 54. Comedian-actress Amy Sedaris is 52. Model Elle Macpherson is 50. Rock singer-musician John Popper (Blues Traveler) is 46. Actress Lucy Lawless is 45.