I am referring, of course to Barbara Walters. The Miley Cyrus issue of Vanity Fair excerpts Walters’ upcoming memoir, Audition, in which—even as Katie Couric runs into more ratings trouble at CBS—she recalls being dismissed as the first female evening news anchor, with a giant-for-the-time salary and a none-too-happy male co-anchor:
The press was relentless on the million-dollar baby, or, more, the $5 million baby. Then there were my television colleagues. Everyone from Walter Cronkite to the head of CBS News, to sportscasters were clucking away about the million-dollar death of journalism. “Is Barbara a journalist or is she Cher?” asked Richard Salant, the president of CBS News. Cronkite echoed his boss’s views, claiming he had experienced “the sickening sensation that we were all going under.” But you know what? Almost every television journalist, including [her co-anchor] Harry Reasoner, walked into his boss’s office, demanded a raise, and got it. Well, you’re welcome.
The blood was so bad between us … that Harry’s cronies on the crew took to using a stopwatch to note my airtime. If I did a segment that ran three minutes and 25 seconds, Harry would demand that he do a piece three minutes and 25 seconds long. Harry’s hostility soon began to show on the air. I remember reaching toward him at the end of one broadcast, in a friendly manner, just to touch him on the arm. He recoiled, physically recoiled, in front of millions of people. The media picked up on the bad chemistry. “Harry Reasoner … seems as comfortable on camera with Walters as a governor under indictment,” wrote Roger Rosenblatt in The New Republic.
The photos are entirely tasteful.