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Who Could Replace Barbara Walters? Icon to Step Down from The View on May 16

After 17 seasons, Barbara Walters officially announces May 16 will be her last day on The View
Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images

It's official. Barbara Walters is set to step down from the talk show she created on May 16. Will trailblazing chat-fest, The View, continue without her? Or will another accomplished journalist take the moderator's chair.

There are a host of established women in the field of journalism who could try to fill her shoes. Here are a few of the more likely choices.

Elizabeth Vargas. After admitting to suffering from alcoholism, Vargas removed herself from the grind of her stint with ABCs 20/20 to enter rehab in November of 2013. Now back on the show, Vargas could easily join the View panel in between 20/20 shoots and writing her memoirs, that is if the recent on air spat between Vargas and Barbara Walters doesn't get in the way. Appearing on The View in February, Walters insinuated colleagues all knew about Vargas's drinking problem long before she publicly admitted it, leading to an awkward exchange.

Watch Vargas discuss her addiction on The View:

Soledad O'Brien: Known for her 'no-holes-barred' interview style, O'Brien had been a phenom at CNN until 2013, when she left the daily reporter's beat to create her production company, Starfish Media Group. Her provocative series of documentaries, Black in America and Latino in America, led to a ground breaking expose on attitudes about race in the U.S. O'Brien certainly has the journalistic chops to hold her own with the ladies of the View, who are not known for mincing words when it comes to controversial topics. Drawback: The View has two African American co-hosts already. Adding a third to the panel might prove too 'scary' for ABC higher-ups who are ever concerned about lost ratings and turning off viewership.

Katie Couric: Now that her talk show won't return in the fall, Couric is suddenly open to new opportunities. There is no doubt she's a seasoned talk show host. But would she jump ship from CBS to join rival ABC? A better question is would the ratings obsessed network bank on Katie, when her own show's ratings could keep it alive?

Less obvious, but perfectly viable? Connie Chung. Why? One could make the argument that Asian presence could be just what the doctor ordered to further enhance diversity on the show. But the better argument is that Chung is a phenom in her own right. She co-anchored the Evening News with Dan Rather back in the 80s. Chung is no stranger to hard-hitting interviews, some of which generated lots of controversy in its time. The biggest drawback is the reporter's most recent stint on network television while making a decent show with the ratings, jettisoned into a critic's nightmare.

Watch the Connie Chung and hubby Maury Povich interview on The View:

What do you think? Who should provide the journalist's perspective on the show when Barbara retires on May 16?