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Barbara Walters leaving 'The View' on May 16

Barbara Walters attends the Woman's Day 8th Red

Barbara Walters attends the Woman's Day 8th Red Dress Awards on Feb. 8, 2011 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Manhattan. Credit: Getty Images

After a 17-year run, Barbara Walters will step down from co-hosting duties on "The View" on May 16, but she stopped short -- far short -- of saying she was "retiring."

In fact, ABC News said Walters, 84, would remain with the network "for life," occasionally handling news assignments when warranted. She will remain on "The View" as executive producer with Bill Geddie, with whom she created the landmark talk show, which launched Aug. 11, 1997.

"Many of you have had to put up with me since your childhood and you're not free of me yet because I'm not leaving television entirely," she said on Monday's program, referring to a career that began half a century ago on the "Today" show.

That's not quite what she told The New York Times -- through which she stage-managed her "retirement" last March -- when she said, "I don't want to do any more interviews. I don't want to do any other programs. I'm not joining CNN. This is it."

Indeed, ever-vital and still ever-involved in an industry she has been so deeply involved in shaping over a remarkable career, Walters has seemed to be something of a reluctant future retiree ever since making that declaration. For example, she told Fox News' Howard Kurtz in November, "Will I ever do another show? Sure."

Meanwhile, "The View" will devote the week of May 12 to this singular career while ABC will devote another two hours in prime time to her on May 16. And this: ABC News' West Side headquarters will be renamed the Barbara Walters Building.


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