TV special revisits Barbara Walters' most questionable moments
Make no mistake, Barbara Walters' two-night special "30 Mistakes in 30 Years" is not intended to be a look at the greatest interviews of all time.
"What is does give people," Walters said, "is a chance to see the greatest celebrities in off-guarded moments, both theirs and mine." Like Walters calling Arnold Schwarzenegger "Warren," or a bird pooping on Audrey Hepburn while the cameras rolled.
Clips for the two specials - one airs Thursday at 10 p.m. EST, the other Friday at 10 - are culled from the three decades of interview shows Walters has done since joining ABC.
She and producer Bill Gedde, who also produces "The View," came up with 30 so-called "mistakes," ranging from doing an interview with an overtired Mel Gibson to Walters asking celebrities when they lost their virginity.
"I don't think I ask about virginity anymore," Walters said. "And I probably don't ask about worth anymore."
For awhile, though, she did, and viewers will see the likes of Don Johnson and Johnny Carson respond to the question.
Other "mistakes" include riding motorcycles, dancing with Demi Moore at a strip club when Moore's film "Striptease" came out, and getting flustered when Clint Eastwood flirted with her during an interview.
While she's still doing the celebrity specials, such as her pre-Oscar show, Walters isn't in the day-to-day chase for the big names anymore. "Thank goodness," she said. "I was sick of booking and competing."
All the big stars go to Oprah Winfrey first, she said. And on "The View," it doesn't matter if a celebrity has appeared elsewhere first.
Ironically, while Walters isn't asking celebrities about their virginity on her specials anymore, that sort of personal query does come up on "The View."
"I love doing `The View,'" she said. "That, to me, is just dessert, and now with Rosie (O'Donnell), it's great fun."
O'Donnell joined the show this year, and Star Jones and Meredith Vieira left, creating a new dynamic on the series.
"I think everyone on the program is better because Rosie's on - she's brought out the best in us," Walters said of "The View." "Rosie is aware there are other people on the show. She loves confetti. She loves show-business people. There's a different kind of energy."
Walter said the search for a new member of the "View" group is under way, but there's no timetable.
"With the four of us (Walters, O'Donnell, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck), we haven't had the need for one new person," she said.
Meanwhile, work has begun on Walters' next special, her annual show on the year's most fascinating people.
"We look for the people who have the most impact, not necessarily the most famous," Walters said, adding: "We don't do murders, or people of ill repute."