Did Brian Williams nearly go the way of Conan O'Brien? Only Barbara Walters knows for sure, and she's not...wait a minute, she is talking!

When the hot topic of O'Brien's Jay Leno-assisted backstabbing came up on The View this morning, Walters apparently felt the need to defend NBC's treatment of its golden oldies by releasing a programming bombshell of her own.

"Last June, NBC came to me—NBC was my home for so many years before I came to ABC," the octogenarian said. "And to my amazement, they made me an offer to come back to NBC News. At my age, it was a very flattering offer."

It may have been a very flattering offer, but it was one she could apparently refuse. Too bad Leno wasn't taking notes.

"The fact that they would make an offer to someone of my age and consider that I still had years ahead was something that I think says something about them and about NBC, and that's why I'm saying it today," the 80-year-old broadcaster said. "I chose not to go because I have been very happy at ABC."

And while neither Babs nor NBC commented on what position, exactly, she was actually offered in their News Bureau—where, incidentally, she began her career—Walters said she was tempted by the proposition.

"I thought, 'What a wonderful way to end a career or take the next step. They want me!' You know, all of the above. It was a very difficult decision. I was wrestling with it."

Further complicating the decision was the fact that she would not have had to decamp her chatfest for the new gig.

"I would have been able to continue to do The View because this is daytime," she said. "I would not have left The View."

As for why Walters chose now to let slip the job offer? She not unwisely thought NBC could do with a little positive press right about now.

"As you know, on network television, all they care about in terms of sponsors is the 18-49 age group. Conan O'Brien, by the way...the suspense is still there because there is a question of whether or not he will stay being pushed to a later hour. So it's all young, young, young.

"However, I have not talked about this before, but it seems to me that today is an appropriate day to do it. I do not exactly fall in the category of 18-49."

She even went so far as to turn her revelation into a thank you.

"So I just want to say, in spite of the fact that it's young, young, they did make this offer, and now I can publicly thank them," she gushed, before remembering which network it is who pays her bills.

"And thank ABC who were very kind and very relieved when I stayed."

As, no doubt, was whoever Walters would have been replacing over at NBC.


Get the latest on the late-night shake-up.

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share