Linda Ellerbee Profile

Linda Ellerbee’s astonishing career has taken her from highly regarded journalist to award-winning television producer to bestselling author. Along the way she has become a mom, a grandmother, survived breast cancer and become one of America’s favorite and most in demand speakers.

After commencing work at CBS Linda moved to NBC News where she wrote and anchored the late-night news programmed NBC News Overnight, “the best written and most intelligent news program ever” according to the duPont Colombia Awards. Moving to ABC News in 1986 she anchored and wrote Our World, an historical series aired weekly at prime time, which was awarded an Emmy.

Along with her partner Rolfe Tessem Linda founded Lucky Duck Productions in 1987, making documentaries for PBS. Linda wrote and hosted the company’s production Nick News from 1991 (aired on Nickelodeon). It now has over 50% of the children’s news audience, and its non-patronizing presentation of important issues for children has won it three Peabody Awards (including a personal one for Linda), a duPont Colombia Award and eight Emmys. It also has received the highly prestigious Edward R Murrow award for best Network News Documentary, the first children’s television programmed ever to be so honored.

Linda Ellerbee and Lucky Duck have continued to enjoy astonishing success, with primetime specials on ABC, CBS, HBO, PBS, Lifetime, MTV, Logo, A&E, MSNBC, SOAPnet, Trio, Animal Planet and TV Land amongst other stations. Her series When I Was a Girl for the Women’s Entertainment Network gained her another Emmy.

Linda’s publication history has been every bit as successful as her broadcasting career. Her books And So It Goes, taking a wry look at television news, and Move On, about her experiences as a workingwoman, single mother and child of the 60s, were both bestsellers. Her eight part fiction series for children, Get Real, proved hugely popular with middle schoolers. Her latest book, Take Big Bites: Adventures Around the World and Across the Table is also a bestseller, delighting readers with accounts of her travels, the people she has met and meals she has enjoyed and “just making trouble in general.”

  • View Extended/Alternate Bio
      • Linda Ellerbee is an outspoken journalist, award-winning television producer, best-selling author, a breast cancer survivor, a mom, a grandmother and one of the most sought-after speakers in America.

    Ellerbee began her career at CBS, and then moved to NBC News where, after years covering national politics, she pioneered the late-night news program NBC News Overnight, which she wrote and anchored. Overnight was cited by the duPont Columbia Awards as “the best written and most intelligent news program ever.” In 1986, Ellerbee moved to ABC News to anchor and write Our World, a weekly primetime historical series. Her work on Our World won her an Emmy.

    In 1987, Ellerbee and Rolfe Tessem, her partner, quit network news to start Lucky Duck Productions, first producing documentaries for PBS. In 1991, Lucky Duck began producing Nick News for Nickelodeon with Ellerbee writing and hosting. Nineteen years later, Nick News is watched by more children than watch all other television news shows put together—and
    has earned honors traditionally associated with adult programming. Known for the respectful and direct way it speaks to children about the important issues of our time, Nick News has collected three Peabody Awards (including one personal Peabody given to Ellerbee for her coverage of the Clinton investigation), a duPont Columbia Award and eight Emmys, including
    the 2010 Emmy for The Face of Courage: Kids Living with Cancer. Last year, Nick News received the Edward R. Murrow Award for best Network News Documentary, making history as the first-ever kids’ television program to receive this prestigious award.

    These days, Ellerbee and her work can be seen all over the television universe. Lucky Duck has and continues to produce primetime specials for ABC, CBS, HBO, PBS, Lifetime, MTV, Logo, A&E, MSNBC, SOAPnet, Trio, Animal Planet and TV Land, among others. Ellerbee was honored with an Emmy for her series, When I Was a Girl, which aired on WE:
    Women’s Entertainment network.

    Ellerbee’s first foray into books for kids, an eight-part fiction series entitled Get Real, published in 2000, won her raves among middle school readers. Both of Ellerbee’s previous adult books—And So It Goes, a humorous look at television news, and Move On, stories about
    being a working single mother, a child of the ‘60s and a woman trying to find some balance in her life—have been national best sellers. Ellerbee’s newest book, also a best seller, Take Big Bites: Adventures Around the World and Across the Table, is a humorous account of her love of travel, talking to (and eating with) strangers, and, according to Ellerbee, “oh, just making
    trouble in general.”

    As a breast cancer survivor, Ellerbee travels thousands of miles each year giving inspirational speeches to others. She is as direct with women as she is with kids; they understand that she understands their lives.

Linda Ellerbee Speaking Videos

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Linda Ellerbee's Speech Descriptions

Linda Ellerbee draws on a remarkable career for a series of talks, all of which can be tailored to specific audiences. Having undergone extraordinary changes in her own life, some voluntary and some forced, she teaches how to survive change without changing your heart.

In the television business and in journalism Linda has had unparalleled success, and she shares the secrets behind that with her audience. She also provides inspirational insight into the ways in which teachers can use television as their friend rather than an enemy.

Having survived breast cancer, Linda talks with great warmth, humor and pathos of the experience; whether or not you have survived cancer yourself, you cannot fail to be moved and inspired by her fifteen-year journey of survival.

    All speeches run approximately 45 minutes. Ellerbee can follow up with 15 minutes of Q&A.

    How To Be Successful and Hang Onto Your Values
    How Ellerbee balanced having kids and building a career...or tried to. Ellerbee delivers her trademark wit and wisdom on everything from leaving the networks to starting her own company, from having a boss to being the boss.

    How to Survive a Changing World and How to Change Your World
    Ellerbee gives her rules for surviving a changing world with the heart intact – from surviving breast cancer, to climbing mountains, from overcoming obstacles to making a noise. In her life and in her career, Ellerbee has learned that change is the norm.

    Kids, Television, and the News
    Ellerbee talks about her journey to producing children’s television – how she created Nick News, her long-running series on Nickelodeon and “what I’ve learned about children, television and the real world.” PLEASE NOTE: THIS SPEECH MAY BE TAILORED FOR EDUCATION GROUPS. Ellerbee talks about how teachers can use television as a teaching tool and turn television from the enemy into the teacher’s friend.

    Surviving Breast Cancer to Laugh Another Day
    Ellerbee describes her experience with breast cancer – from the heartfelt yet amusing reactions of friends and colleagues, to the determination and spirit that make her an almost 15-year survivor.

    Adventures in Journalism
    From newspapers to networks, she’s gone from covering fires and parades to presidential debates and international terrorism, and collected some of the most prestigious awards along the way. Ellerbee talks about her experience as a veteran journalist.

    *Ellerbee can do combinations of some of the above speeches, if requested

What People are Saying about Seeing Linda Speak

Rating Entries

    “Linda Ellerbee has the knack of reducing a convention hall to the dimensions of a den or front porch. It has to do with the way she leans into the lectern, making eye-contact with her audience and employing a cozy, shoot-the-breeze style that segues from comedy routine to pep-talk to girl-talk… Her audience responded with chuckles, cheers – and some tears…”
    The Orlando Sentinel Orlando, FL

    “To put it plainly, Linda Ellerbee blew them away…news reporter, writer, producer — and as the room soon learned — a captivating storyteller who took charge and gave the group power…”
    The Hartford Courant Hartford, CT

    “Everyone told me how much they were moved by your talk. I found myself smiling through tears as did many other people. Your courage is really very exceptional, and you are a role model for many women…”
    Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center New York, NY

    “You brought so much energy, life, spirit, humor and great information to our conference this past weekend… Linda – you MADE the conference…”
    The Anderson Network Houston, TX

    “You generated raves and from all we hear, they will continue for some time. Your masterly balance of emotional heft and wise humor left the audience feeling exhilarated…We Texans appreciate women who tell it like it is. And you did. Our audience was shedding tears one minute and rolling in the aisles the next. Frankly, we are having trouble finding a keynote speaker for next year who can live up to your example.”
    Breast Cancer Resource Center of Austin Austin, TX

    “You beautifully and eloquently surpassed all of our expectations…your heartfelt message touched all of us. One of your many gifts is to somehow single out each and everyone as though – perhaps for just a moment – you were speaking only to them. Your patience with the press and with everyone who spoke to you – so many of them! — was wonderful to see…”
    Cancer Research & Treatment Fund New York, NY

    “As the moderator of our ‘User Forum,’ Linda was the consummate professional, prepared, flexible, articulate and extremely willing to invest the time and effort in making the panel a success… I would highly recommend and encourage any of your clients to pursue Linda… She will deliver a top notch A+ message that will knock the socks off of an audience.”
    Amdahl Corporation, Users Group Conference San Diego, CA

    “You were fantastic, and we greatly appreciate your leading role in the National Town Meeting on Women’s Health. Juggling those moving stories, Members of Congress, and expert panelists is a daunting job, and you really made it work!…”
    Rep. Patricia Schroeder Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues Washington, D.C.

    “I have heard many people singing your praises…saying your lecture was the most entertaining and engaging lecture event they have ever heard at Presbyterian College…It is rare to have such a gifted speaker and commentator also be a great listener…you have set a very high standard for the rest of the year’s speakers…”
    Presbyterian College Clinton, SC

    “…thank you for the impressive message with which you launched our leadership celebration. Your candor, competency and frankness charmed students and adults alike…You clearly have a story to tell and you so obviously enjoy telling it. The decision to ask you to keynote the day was one of the best I may ever make in my tenure as Head of School.”
    Emma Willard School Troy, NY

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Books by Linda Ellerbee:
    Take Big Bites: Adventures around the World and across the Table

    The celebrated journalist, producer, and bestselling author takes us on a remarkable culinary journey through “a life lived interestingly, if not especially intelligently.”

    Linda Ellerbee′s first two books were instant classics: And So It Goes, a hilarious, unblinking look at television journalism that spent months as a bestseller; and Move On, a wry, intimate look at a woman in her time that became a milestone in autobiographical writing. Now she takes us both farther afield and closer to home in a memoir of travel, food, and personal (mis)adventure that brims with warmth, wit, uncommon honesty, inspired storytelling . . . and a few recipes as well.

    In Vietnam, preconceptions collide with the soup. . . . In France, lust flares with the pâté and dies with the dessert. . . .In Bolivia, a very young missionary finds her food flavored with hypocrisy . . . while at the bottom of the Grand Canyon an older woman discovers gorp is good, fear is your friend, and Thai chicken tastes best when you′re soaked by rain and the Colorado River.

    From Italy to Afghanistan, from Mexico to Massachusetts, Ellerbee leads us on a journey of revelation, humor, and heart. “What can you say about Linda Ellerbee?” Ted Koppel once wrote. “The woman is raucous and irreverent and writes like a dream.” Take Big Bites proves it again.

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    Get Real, No. 1: Girl Reporter Blows Lid Off Town!

    Ellerbee (And So It Goes) takes a sure and steady step onto new turf with this inaugural novel of her Get Real series. Casey Smith, the frank and flippant narrator of this fast-paced story, arrives on her first day of sixth grade eager to join the staff of the middle-school newspaper. But her English teacher delivers the bad news that the school paper has been defunct for years. Still worse, the next day Casey learns that another student has beat her to the punch and announced her intention to revive the publication. Prissy in pink, Megan couldn′t be more different from the down-to-earth, high-top-wearing Casey. Nor could their visions of the paper′s focus be further apart: while Megan wants to fill its pages with fluff coverage of “prom notes and bake sales,” the heroine expects to tackle “REAL news” stories. When Casey suspects that the directors of a local paper mill are polluting a nearby river, she goes after her story with a zeal and persistence worthy of Ellerbee herself. The means by which Casey obtains the crucial evidence strains credibility a bit, but the issues, personalities and dialogue that the author introduces are inarguably authentic. In an articulate afterword, Ellerbee encourages readers to follow her heroine′s lead and become involved in–and passionate about–their world. Casey grapples with the subject of cheating in Girl Reporter Sinks School!, the simultaneously released second volume of this promising series. Ages 8-12.

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