Oprah Talks to Barbara Walters
Oprah: By the time this interview appears, you'll be doing your last regular episodes of 20/20. Why are you leaving?
Barbara: I've worked all my life, and I've never had time to go to a city or country where I haven't been in the studio. I watched your special [Diane Sawyer devoted an hour of Primetime to Oprah's work in South Africa] not just with tears but with yearning. I've been to China four times—but I've never really seen China.
Oprah: Because you were always working.
Barbara: Yes. While I'm still healthy and young enough, I want time to do these things. And I want more time with my daughter before I turn around and say, "Where did that go?"
Oprah: Your daughter, Jackie, is 35. Hasn't there already been a moment when you turned around and said, "Where did the time go?"
Barbara: Oh, yes. I tried to be with her a lot—but why wasn't I there more? My new arrangement gives me the opportunity to stay in television, because I'll still do five specials, and I'll do 20/20 from time to time.
Oprah: Up until the moment you leave, won't you feel the sense of competition—of needing the next big "get"?
Barbara: Well, I can't pretend that I didn't go after the big interviews. Years ago I traveled to Cairo and threw pebbles against Anwar el-Sadat's window before the signing of the Camp David peace treaty, hoping he'd come out and do one more interview. I mean, that's insane. Then I'd get on a plane and do an interview in New Orleans. During the years when I covered the Middle East, I was constantly traveling. Now I don't have that burning ambition.
Oprah: When Martha Stewart was first indicted, did you think, I have to get that interview?
Barbara: No. I thought, I'd like this interview, I hope I get it. A few years ago, I would have said, "I must have it." Now I want something I haven't had since I was in my 20s—time. I'll miss certain things. I love my producer. But I also feel very content with my choice. I want to write a book, and I want to do it myself.
Oprah: I still have your first book, How to Talk with Practically Anybody About Practically Anything.
Barbara: I did that in my 30s. Now I've got to write about growing up and my father, who was such an extraordinary person, and my poor sister, who was borderline mentally challenged.
Oprah: You've got to write about what this life has meant to you.
Barbara: And I want to learn Spanish.
Oprah: Me, too.
Barbara: I find it fascinating that you told Bill Clinton you'd never want to be in politics. I feel the same way.
Oprah: Why would we want politics?