Reports of Barbara Walters’ retirement may have been premature.
The 84-year-old TV-news veteran has been soaking up accolades over the last year after announcing in 2013 she would step down from the senior role that has made her almost as fascinating a persona as the people she interviews. But Walters, who has been a fixture behind the desk of such storied news programs as “Today” and “20/20,” maintains an office at ABC News and “will always be available to ABC News, and will report as news warrants,” said spokeswoman Alyssa Z. Apple.
Walters made her interest in continuing to report clear Monday when ABC News announced she would interview Peter Rodger, the father of the 22-year-old who killed six people near the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara, last month. The interview will air on a coming special edition of “20/20” as well as various ABC News venues.
Rodger asked for Walters to do the interview, the ABC News spokeswoman said. She had not been chasing the booking.
Walters is best known for a higher kind of “get”: Fidel Castro. Michael Jackson. Katherine Hepburn. Monica Lewinsky. Of course, she has also shown zeal for talking to ordinary people placed in extraordinary circumstances, like the parents of George Zimmerman.
In today’s news cycle, when people of less accomplishment are more readily available to fill demand fueled by social-media, securing interviews with luminaries may simply take too much prep time. Monitoring the types of assignments that draw Walters back to the set could be an interesting exercise over the next year or so.