Barbara Walters says she’s “so relieved” to be satisfied with the new role she filled for ABC News on Tuesday (Nov. 6), Election Night.
The television-journalism icon tells Zap2it, “For weeks, I had been doing homework. Whenever there was free time, I thought, ‘I’ve got to read,’ because I knew that I was going to be on and that I had to make a place for myself. I’m not a political analyst, and I wasn’t given a specific assignment, so I had to pick areas and learn about them … and that was where I could contribute.
“What did big business think of President Obama? What would happen to Ann Romney if her husband lost, since I’ve never seen a time when the candidates’ wives have played such a major role? What was the effect of Hurricane Sandy on the election, since that was so unique? What’s the future of the Supreme Court? I was just constantly reading.”
And as part of an all-evening panel with others such as political commentators George Will and Nicolle Wallace, Walters knew she’d have to be ready when her times came. “When they call on you, you’ve got to speak in a minute. You can’t say, ‘Well, let’s see … .’ You talk to the director and say, ‘These are the things that you might want to call on me about.’
“Also, as the night goes on — because we were on until 2 in the morning (EST) — that’s when I know I’m going to be called on the most, because they have to fill time. So we finished, I got home, I went to bed at 3, I got up at 7, and I did ‘The View.’ And now, I feel free at last.”
When the much-honored Walters references her “free time,” that’s almost tongue-in-cheek, since she typically doesn’t have much of it. Besides her Kirstie Alley interview now getting play on such ABC programs as “Good Morning America” and “Nightline,” she’s been doing other interviews for her annual “10 Most Fascinating People” special scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 12. And, of course, there’s her job as a host and executive producer of the ABC weekday staple “The View.”
Those are efforts Walters is used to, but she knew she was entering new territory on Election Night: “Katie [Couric] had Twitter, so she knew that there was a particular role for her. I did not know I’d have to create one for myself, and they were quite generous with me. I was very happy about it.”