Linda Ellerbee is bringing her pioneering career in TV news to a close with Nickelodeon’s Dec. 15 retrospective on her 25-year run as host and producer of “Nick News” specials.
Ellerbee was part of the big wave of women to land prominent TV news correspondent, anchor and producer jobs in the 1970s. She gained national attention in 1982 when she was tapped as co-anchor with Lloyd Dobyns of “NBC News Overnight,” a broadcast that aired nightly in the pre-dawn hours and was commended for its sharp and in-depth reporting.
Ellerbee has been hosting and producing specials for Nickelodeon since 1991, focusing on explaining the complicated stories and situations behind the headlines for younger viewers. She has produced more than 400 for the Viacom-owned cable network, concluding later this month with “Hello, I Must Be Going: 25 Years of Nick News With Linda Ellerbee.”
Ellerbee, 71, has long been known for her Texas-bred outspoken style and sense of humor, which occasionally landed her in hot water with her bosses during her years in the straight-news arena.
“I’m a lucky woman,” said Ellerbee. “I saw the world, met many of the world’s most interesting people and was well paid to do so. Now I choose to go, and I go smiling. I’ve had a great time. And thank you for asking, but, no, I don’t intend to mellow.”
Ellerbee’s Nick News specials began with an effort to help kids understand the events surrounding the invasion of Kuwait and the Iraq war.
From there, the series went on to tackle everything from AIDs and racism to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 terror attacks and Hurricane Katrina. Ellerbee has produced the specials through her Lucky Duck Prods., which she formed in 1987 after a brief stint at ABC News with the newsmagazine “Our World.”
Ellerbee began her career in print journalism in 1972 as a reporter at the Associated Press bureau in Dallas. She was fired for accidentally sending a personal letter out through the AP’s newswire. But the witty tone of the letter got her a job as a reporter for Houston TV station KHOU. From there, she moved to WCBS New York and in 1974 to NBC News. During her four years on NBC’s “Overnight,” Ellerbee instituted her now-signature sign-off, “And so it goes.”