Linda Ellerbee

Journalist


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her three-hour Archive interview, Linda Ellerbee talks about starting out as a writer before transitioning to being an on-air correspondent in local news. She discusses moving to network television, working on programs including Weekend and The NBC Nightly News. She recalls co-hosting NBC News Overnight, which gained a massive cult following, and solidified her persona with the American public. Ellerbee talks about guest-starring on Murphy Brown, which Diane English based on Ellerbee's life, and the finale of Ellen. She then discusses the formation of her production company, Lucky Duck Productions, and its keystone news series for kids, Nick News. Throughout the interview Ellerbee discusses the state of the news industry as well as her philosophy of how news should be covered on television. Karen Herman conducted the interview on June 9, 2010 in New York, NY.

"Even at age 10 it was fairly clear to me that if the Soviet Union dropped a hydrogen bomb on us, climbing under my little wooden desk and putting my hands over my head wasn't going to help. I spent a lot of time afraid of what's going to happen because I would see these images on television of Khrushchev pounding his shoe at the UN and the tests of the bombs that were being conducted, and I would go to bed terrified. No one talked to me about this. My parents didn't talk to me about what I was watching, my school didn't talk to me, no one in the church talked to me, certainly no one on television addressed my fears as a kid of the news that I was seeing. Don't you think I didn't think about that years later when we went to start Nick News."

Highlights
Linda Ellerbee on being fired from the Associated Press
04:22
Linda Ellerbee on going to work as a reporter for WCBS News in New York City
04:20
Linda Ellerbee on co-anchoring NBC News Overnight, and on what made the show special
04:47
Linda Ellerbee on the popularity and cult following of NBC News Overnight
03:37
Linda Ellerbee on her long-running partnership with Nickelodeon, and on Nick News covering controversial topics
05:30
Linda Ellerbee on the Nick News coverage of 9/11
02:37
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on being interested in current events as a child
16:46
On becoming a writer; on gaining the courage to try to be a writer from her teacher Mabel Scott; on being an editorial cartoonist for her college newspaper
09:06
On her first professional job, at the Associated Press broadcast wire; on being fired from the Associated Press; on being hired by the CBS affiliate in Houston, Texas
09:11
On her first television news job, at KHOU in Houston, replacing Jessica Savitch; on her the kinds of stories she covered at KHOU; on learning on the job at KHOU
11:30
On the biggest story she covered while at KHOU: serial killer Dean Corll; on becoming a minor celebrity in Houston, and how she has dealt with celebrity in her career
06:04
On the enduring popularity of NBC News Overnight; on going to work as a reporter for WCBS News in New York City
06:58

Chapter 2

On her stint as the hard news reporter at WCBS News in New York City; on retaining her Texas accent; on being hired by NBC News to cover Congress
12:48
On covering the 1976 Democratic convention for NBC News; on covering the return of the American hostages from Iran in 1981; on co-hosting Today for one week
11:38
On co-hosting Weekend with Lloyd Dobyns; on co-anchoring NBC News Overnight, and on what made the show special; on the popularity and cult following of NBC News Overnight
10:00
On what she feels is the problem with television news; on how television news became a business, in part due to 60 Minutes; on co-anchoring Summer Sunday
15:53
On Diane English basing Murphy Brown on Linda Ellerbee, and on appearing on the show; on appearing on Tanner '88, directed by Robert Altman, and on appearing on the Ellen finale; on starting her production company, Lucky Duck Productions, and on her Maxwell House commercials
09:29

Chapter 3

On covering the royal wedding of Charles and Diana for NBC News; on the genesis of Nick News, and on the mission of the show
13:59
On how she went about reporting stories for kids on Nick News; on the age range for Nick News; on her long running partnership with Nickelodeon, and on Nick News covering controversial topics
12:05
On the Nick News brand; on the Nick News team; on the Nick News coverage of 9/11
09:26
On the feedback she receives about Nick News; on how the internet impacted the way she works; on then-current projects
04:54
On what she enjoys about producing and executive producing; on not wanting to retire; on her sign off, "And so it goes," and on the name of her production company, Lucky Duck
06:36
On how the role of women in television news has changed over time; on the power of television
05:52
On advice to aspiring journalists and news producers; on career highlights, regrets, and how she would like to be remembered
01:25
Shows

60 Minutes

View Show Page
Linda Ellerbee on the how television news became a business, in part due to 60 Minutes
05:26

Ellen

View Show Page
Linda Ellerbee on appearing on Tanner '88 directed by Robert Altman, and on appearing on the Ellen finale
01:13

Murphy Brown

View Show Page
Linda Ellerbee on Diane English basing Murphy Brown on Linda Ellerbee, and on appearing on the show
03:54

NBC News

View Show Page
Linda Ellerbee on being hired by NBC News to cover Congress
07:39
Linda Ellerbee on covering the 1976 Democratic convention for NBC News
03:36
Linda Ellerbee on covering the royal wedding of Charles and Diana for NBC News
03:46

NBC News Overnight

View Show Page
Linda Ellerbee on the enduring popularity of NBC News Overnight
02:37
Linda Ellerbee on co-anchoring NBC News Overnight, and on what made the show special
04:47
Linda Ellerbee on the popularity and cult following of NBC News Overnight
03:37

Nick News

View Show Page
Linda Ellerbee on the genesis of Nick News, and on the mission of the show
10:12
Linda Ellerbee on how she went about reporting stories for kids on Nick News
04:55
Linda Ellerbee on the target age range for Nick News
01:37
Linda Ellerbee on her long-running partnership with Nickelodeon, and on Nick News covering controversial topics
05:30
Linda Ellerbee on the Nick News brand
00:29
Linda Ellerbee on the Nick News team
03:38
Linda Ellerbee on the format of Nick News
02:40
Linda Ellerbee on the Nick News coverage of 9/11
02:37
Linda Ellerbee on the feedback she receives about Nick News
02:09

Summer Sunday U.S.A.

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Linda Ellerbee on co-anchoring the disastrous Summer Sunday U.S.A.
06:14

Tanner '88

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Linda Ellerbee on appearing on Tanner '88, directed by Robert Altman, and on appearing on the Ellen finale
01:13

Today

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Linda Ellerbee on co-hosting Today for one week
02:32

Weekend

View Show Page
Linda Ellerbee on co-hosting Weekend with Lloyd Dobbins
01:32
Topics

9/11

View Topic
Linda Ellerbee on the Nick News coverage of 9/11
02:37

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Linda Ellerbee on her sign off, "And so it goes," and on the name of her production company, Lucky Duck
03:27

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Linda Ellerbee on gaining the courage to try to be a writer from her teacher Mabel Scott
04:52

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Linda Ellerbee on how things have changed for women in television news over the years
04:42

Fame and Celebrity

View Topic
Linda Ellerbee on becoming a minor celebrity in Houston, and how she has dealt with celebrity in her career
02:42

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Linda Ellerbee on covering the return of the American hostages from Iran in 1981
05:30
Linda Ellerbee on how things have changed for women in television over the years
04:42
Linda Ellerbee on the Nick News coverage of 9/11
02:37

Iran Hostage Crisis

View Topic
Linda Ellerbee on covering the return of the American hostages from Iran in 1981
05:30

New Media

View Topic
Linda Ellerbee on how the internet impacted the way she works
01:11

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Linda Ellerbee on gaining the courage to try to be a writer from her teacher Mabel Scott
04:52

Pop Culture

View Topic
Linda Ellerbee on becoming a minor celebrity in Houston, and how she has dealt with celebrity in her career
02:42
Linda Ellerbee on her sign off, "And so it goes," and on the name of her production company, Lucky Duck
03:27

Television Industry

View Topic
Linda Ellerbee on what she feels is the problem with television news
04:10
Linda Ellerbee on the how television news became a business in part due to 60 Minutes
05:26
Linda Ellerbee on how the internet impacted the way she works
01:11
Linda Ellerbee on the power of television
01:08

Women

View Topic
Linda Ellerbee on how things have changed for women in television news over the years
04:42
Professions

Journalists & News Producers

View Profession
Linda Ellerbee on advice to aspiring journalists and news producers
00:38

Producers

View Profession
Linda Ellerbee on what she enjoys about producing and executive producing
00:57
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Linda Ellerbee on Diane English basing Murphy Brown on Linda Ellerbee, and on appearing on the show
03:54
Linda Ellerbee on appearing on Tanner '88, directed by Robert Altman, and on appearing on the Ellen finale
01:13

Commercials

View Genre
Linda Ellerbee on starting her production company, Lucky Duck Productions, and on her Maxwell House commercials
04:18

News and Documentary

View Genre
Linda Ellerbee on the enduring popularity of NBC News Overnight
02:37
Linda Ellerbee on being hired by NBC News to cover congress
16:42
Linda Ellerbee on co-hosting Today for one week
02:31
Linda Ellerbee on co-hosting Weekend with Lloyd Dobyns
01:33
Linda Ellerbee on co-anchoring NBC News Overnight
08:27
Linda Ellerbee on co-anchoring Summer Sunday
05:34
Linda Ellerbee and hosting and producing Nick News
35:08
People

Robert Altman

View Person Page
Linda Ellerbee on appearing on Tanner '88, directed by Robert Altman, and on appearing on the Ellen finale
01:13

Diane English

View Interview Page
Linda Ellerbee on Diane English basing Murphy Brown on Linda Ellerbee, and on appearing on the show
03:54

Reuven Frank

View Interview Page
Linda Ellerbee on advice from her mentor, Reuven Frank
01:07

Jessica Savitch

View Person Page
Linda Ellerbee on her first television news job, at KHOU in Houston replacing Jessica Savitch, and on advice from her mentor, Reuven Frank
04:09

Steven Spielberg

View Person Page
Linda Ellerbee on interviewing Steven Spielberg for her first story when she was working for KHOU in Houston
01:32

All Interviews

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