How Did Barbara Walters Lose Her Power at ‘The View’?

When Barbara Walters was running The View, no one — not even ABC executives — questioned who was in charge. Walters, who brought the show to air in 1997, had her hand in everything from hiring and firing co-hosts to coming up with topics and making sure daily broadcasts ran smoothly.

Bill Geddie, the View executive producer who was Walters’s business partner, was right there with her from the start until her retirement in 2014. (Walters quit regular appearances as a co-host that year at the age of 84.)

So when Elisabeth Hasselbeck left for Fox News, you could assume Walters had a hand in it. (On the air, Walters said she didn’t.) And, after she retired, most people around the show (including Geddie) expected her to continue making moves behind the scenes.

But it didn’t turn out that way. By the time Walters made her final appearance at The View, she had lost the power to dictate the terms of the show.

Walters lost her power at ‘The View’ when she sold her stake.

(4.12.11) Katie Couric appeared today on “The View.” | Heidi Gutman/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Fans of TV shows may wonder when a creator/executive producer’s influence ends and a new regime begins. In the case of The View, the story dates back to 2014. That was the end of the line for Walters on the air. At the time, The Daily Beast reported that Geddie was forced out with her.

That was news for several reasons. Obviously, it would be tough to imagine Geddie going against his will with Walters in charge. The thing was, Walters no longer had the power to protect him. She’d lost that influence when she sold her 50% ownership stake in The View, The Daily Beast reported.

According to Ramin Setoodeh in Ladies Who Punch, Walters made several truckloads of cash on the deal. (Her stake was worth “tens of millions,” Setoodeh reported.) But to someone as wealthy as she was, it wasn’t all about money.

Walters learned that the hard way when she began having doubts about the retirement date she’s set for herself.

With no ownership stake, Walters had no choice but to go in 2014.

Barbara Walters appears near Lincoln Center during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on February 13, 2011 in New York City. | Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

As soon as Walters announced your retiring, friends and fans alike might have guessed she wouldn’t go easily. “There will be days when I want to weigh in on something and I will have no place to do it except to call a girlfriend,” she told the New York Times a full year before she left The View.

Sure enough, as the date grew closer, she began to reconsider. She wondered if it was the right idea to suddenly pull the plug. But she was no longer able to make that call on her own behalf. With her ownership stake gone, she had to accept the end in 2014.

According to Setoodeh, Walters had no choice but to move along. For Geddie, her longtime partner, the news of Walters selling her stake was as big a surprise as being forced out. “The moment she no longer had a say, the show (as it was) was essentially over,” he told Setoodeh.

Also see: Why These ‘The View’ Co-Hosts Likely Won’t Make It Past the Upcoming Season