Tuesday, December 08, 2015

"Nick News" Host Linda Ellerbee Retires from Television

Original Lucky Duck Productions Press Release via Business Wire:

Linda Ellerbee Retires from Television

December 01, 2015 10:30 AM Eastern Standard Time

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Outspoken television journalist Linda Ellerbee, who spent half her career reporting the news to adults and the other half explaining the news to children, announced her retirement as of January 2016, forty-four years after her first job in journalism.

Journalist Linda Ellerbee announces her retirement from journalism.

"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."

A pioneering female in broadcast news and award-winning producer, writer and anchor, Ellerbee, 71, is also a best-selling author, sought-after speaker, cancer survivor, mom, grandmother, and, as she puts it, "one more proud, loud, storytelling Texan."

Ellerbee is most known for anchoring and writing the late-night news program — and cult favorite — NBC News Overnight in the early 80s, and the children's news and documentary series Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, produced by Ellerbee's company, Lucky Duck Productions, and airing on Nickelodeon for 25 years — TV's longest running children's news show ever. Ellerbee announced she would retire after the final edition of Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: "Hello, I Must Be Going!" an hour-long retrospective of the series, scheduled to air on Nickelodeon at 8pm (CDT) on December 15, 2015.

She began in print journalism. In 1972, Ellerbee was hired as a reporter by the Dallas bureau of the Associated Press, but was fired after writing a chatty personal letter on the AP's word processors and then accidentally sending the letter out on the national newswire. "I was fired," says Ellerbee, "only because the AP lawyers told my bosses they couldn't shoot me, which they all thought was a better idea." The letter brought her to the attention of the News Director of the Houston CBS television affiliate KHOU, who told her she "wrote funny," and hired her in January 1973. Within a year, she was recruited by New York's WCBS-TV as the "hard news" reporter for its 11pm newscast.

In 1974, Ellerbee moved to NBC News, where she spent four years covering national politics before joining Lloyd Dobyns as co-anchor and writer of the weekly prime-time news magazine, Weekend. Dobyns and Ellerbee alternated closing the show, but both signed off with the phrase "And so it goes." In 1982, Ellerbee was again teamed with Dobyns (and later Bill Schechner) on NBC News Overnight, and again, the anchors ended each broadcast with a short, usually wry commentary, signing off with "And so it goes," (which later became the title of Ellerbee's first book). The show's working assumption that the audience was smart — and its trademark attention to good writing — led to Overnight being cited by the Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Awards as "possibly the best written and most intelligent news program ever."

By 1986, despite awards and critical acclaim, Overnight had been cancelled and Ellerbee had moved to rival network ABC, where (with Ray Gandolf) she wrote and anchored Our World, a weekly primetime historical series. She won an Emmy for her writing in 1987, the same year the show was cancelled. Following that, Ellerbee and producer/director Rolfe Tessem quit ABC to start Lucky Duck Productions, a New York-based company that produced news, documentaries, specials and series for broadcast and cable.

In 1991, Lucky Duck Productions began producing the series Nick News with Linda Ellerbee for Nickelodeon. Ellerbee also wrote and anchored the series, which earned honors traditionally associated with adult programming (in 2009, Nick News made history as the first children's television program ever to win the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Network News Documentary for the show, Coming Home: "When Parents Return from War." Known for the respectful and direct way it spoke to children about important national and international issues, Nick News also collected three Peabody Awards (including one personal Peabody given to Ellerbee for her coverage of the Clinton impeachment), an Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award, and ten Emmys for Outstanding Children's Program of the year. In 2011, Ellerbee received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Children's Television at the annual Banff International Media Festival.

"My goal," said Ellerbee, "was never a nation of kid news junkies. I am more subversive; I wanted to grow a nation of rowdy citizens."

For 29 years, Ellerbee's work has been seen all over the television universe as Lucky Duck Productions has produced specials for ABC, CBS, HBO, PBS, Lifetime TV Network, MTV, Logo, A&E, MSNBC, SOAPnet, Animal Planet and TV Land. In 2004, Ellerbee and Lucky Duck Productions were honored with another Emmy, this time for the series, When I Was a Girl, which aired on WE: Women's Entertainment Network.

Ellerbee's first book, And So It Goes (1986), a humorous look at television news, became an instant best seller. Her second, Move On (1991), stories about being a working single mother, a child of the '60s, and a woman trying to find some balance in her life, was also a best seller — as was her third book, Take Big Bites: Adventures Around the World and Across the Table, (2005) an account of her love of travel and food and, according to Ellerbee, "oh, just making trouble in general." In her eight-part series of books for children, Get Real (2000), two middle school girls start a school newspaper and discover both journalism and life are more complicated than they imagined.

As part of the first group of women to work as TV journalists, Ellerbee, (who once said, "If men can run the world, why can't they stop wearing neckties?") had a front-row seat to gender discrimination: "Network executives would say to me, 'If you take time off for family-related matters, we'll know women aren't serious about this work.' What? You'll fire all the women in journalism if I take my kid to the dentist this afternoon?"

In 2011, at the Gracie Awards, the Alliance for Women in Media recognized Ellerbee's work with its Tribute Award, the organization's highest honor. On presenting the award, former CNN anchor Aaron Brown said to a ballroom of a thousand women, "The two most important women in the history of television news are Barbara Walters and Linda Ellerbee. Barbara Walters made it possible for you to be on television news; Linda Ellerbee made it possible for you to be you on television news."

Ellerbee says she never thought of herself a maverick. "I thought I was normal; other people were a little weird. But if not doing everything the way everybody else did makes me a maverick, what the hell? Only dead fish swim with the stream all the time."

Ellerbee is often said to have been the inspiration for the TV sitcom, Murphy Brown. (In 1989, Ellerbee guest-starred on the series as herself, and would do so twice more. The storyline in the episode, "Summer of '77," is that Ellerbee has auditioned for the anchor job which eventually goes to Murphy. Also, Murphy accuses Ellerbee of stealing her sign off, "And so it goes," from Murphy.) Regarding rumors that she was the real Murphy Brown, Ellerbee says, "I don't know if Murphy is based on me, and don't much care, but a series about a television news anchorwoman whose mouth constantly gets her into trouble? What's not to like?"

Despite winning almost every honor TV has to give, Ellerbee says the richest rewards have come from Rolfe Tessem, her partner of 30 years in life and work; Joshua Veselka, her son, who owns Eagle Pass Productions, a London-based international media company; Vanessa Veselka, her daughter, a novelist whose book, Zazen, won the 2012 Pen Prize for Best First Novel of the year; and her four grandchildren, Violet, Ruben, Gabriel and Milo, who are noisy. Ellerbee and Tessem live in New York City and Massachusetts with their two Greek rescue dogs, Daisy and Dolly.

When asked what she planned to after she retired, Ellerbee said she was thinking of becoming a shepherd.

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Nickelodeon Names 2015 Writing and Artist Program Participants

Original Nickelodeon USA Press Release via NickPress.com:

Nickelodeon Names 2015 Writing and Artist Program Participants

Talent Development Programs Yield Nine New Voices from Around the World

BURBANK, Calif. – Dec. 8, 2015 – Nickelodeon has selected nine new participants to join its talent development programs this year. For its 16th annual Writing Program, Nick has chosen four new emerging talent; while five are joining the 5th annual Artist Program. Nick's Writing Program gives aspiring television scribes the opportunity to hone their skills while writing for its live-action and animated shows. Nickelodeon's Artist Program nurtures the development of emerging talent for positions within the animation studio in Burbank, Calif. These two global programs were developed to broaden Nickelodeon's outreach efforts, in order to mine and cultivate a new generation of creative talent through extensive, hands-on work.

"Nickelodeon continues to garner terrific worldwide response from our outreach programs, and we look forward to working with and mentoring this new generation of creative visionaries," said Russell Hicks, Nickelodeon's President of Content Development and Production.

This year's writers and artists join an alumni group who have gone on to hold positions at various networks like Nickelodeon, HBO, DreamWorks, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, Kids' WB!, ABC, FOX, PBS, Cartoon Network and the CW. Sheela Shrinivas, Karla Sakas, Alan Van Dyke, Celestino Marina and Lisa Vandenberg are among some of the programs' most recent alumni who have either been staffed on various current Nickelodeon shows or have ideas in development at the network. Other notable graduates include creators, co-executive producers and writers Jonathan Butler and Gabriel Garza of Nickelodeon's hit live-action comedy series Bella and the Bulldogs.

The four 2015 Writing Program participants include:

Charlie Neuner: From Woodland Hills, Calif., Neuner honed his craft via the UCLA Extension Writers' Program where three of his television comedy scripts placed in the top 10 of the program's 2013 Screenwriting Competition. Neuner also writes short stories and is working on a novel.

Jeffrey Trammell: Hailing from Detroit, Mich., Trammell was a professional wrestler who dreamt of becoming a writer. He also writes sketches and short films, and is working on a comic book.

Robert Woo: Born in South Korea via Hawaii, Woo is an experienced improv and sketch writer, having performed at comedy festivals all over the world. He was chosen to be a part of the 2014 NBCUniversal Late Night Writers Workshop and is ready to transition from the stage to the small screen.

Milla Tuokkola: The program's second international writer, Tuokkola is from Helsinki, Finland. She studied scriptwriting for film and television at Bournemouth University in England where she discovered she was most interested in telling funny stories from a refreshingly feminist point of view. Tuokkola recently wrote and self-published the first chapter of her comic book series.

The five 2015 Artist Program participants include:

Mallory Carlson: A California State University Fullerton graduate, she is being mentored on Pig Goat Banana Cricket.

Jerry Suh: A recent graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design who is being mentored on the upcoming series The Loud House.

Marcos Cohen: A California Institute of the Arts graduate who is being mentored on the upcoming series Pinky Malinky.

April Am├ęzquita: A graduate of Otis College of Art and Design, she is being mentored on Shimmer and Shine.

Caitlin Elise Willis: A graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, she is being mentored on SpongeBob SquarePants.

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 36th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in more than 100 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 20 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).

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A huge congratulations to everyone selected to be participants of Nickelodeon's 2015 Writing and Artist Program's!
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Playmates Toys Rev Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles T-Sprints Into Action at Toys"R"Us This December

Original Playmates Toys Press Release via MultiVu:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Rev Up and Sprint Into Action – Now That's Fast!

Playmates Toys Rev T-Sprints Into Action at Toys"R"Us® This December

El Segundo, CA (December 8, 2015)

Mighty, motorized micros! Playmates Toys announced today the launch of T-Sprints, an innovative new figure and wheels play pattern that goes beyond traditional vehicle play, available first at Toys"R"Us® stores nationwide for the month of December, and rolling out to additional retailers beginning in January. The highly stylized figures, which capture the personalities of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, each come with a different vehicle and feature a unique flywheel so kids can rev and send them sprinting into action.

T-Sprints -- Rev, Drop, & Go!

"As the company behind the popular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toy line for decades, Playmates Toys continually strives to develop innovative new play patterns which allow fans to experience their favorite characters in unique and entertaining ways," said Karl Aaronian, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Playmates Toys. "The T-Sprints collection offers fans a humorous, unique new experience, bringing the personalities of each Turtle to life in whole new way."

T-Sprints Figures and Vehicles

The mighty, motorized micro T-Sprints can quickly take off on wild adventures--just rev, drop and go! With the figure powering the vehicle, T-Sprints figures can be revved, dropped into a vehicle shell and sent racing into action! Kids can collect all of the T-Sprints figures and vehicles including Lickety Split Leo with Shellraiser, Mad Motion Mikey with Party Van, Rapid Assault Raph with Stealth Bike, Dasher Donnie with Patrol Buggy, and Supersonic Shredder with Shreddermobile.

Lickety Split Leo with Shellraiser

Available this spring, the T-Sprints collection will also include the T-Sprints Sewer Duel Playset that comes with an exclusive Leo figure to provide kids with even more exciting action. Kids can rev up the T-Sprints Leo figure to send him sprinting through the sewer, racing past mutant Shredder and escaping in the Shellraiser. Whether kids choose to rev the T-Sprints Ninja Turtles off to battle evil or to race against one other, T-Sprints are sure to provide hours of fast-moving fun.

The '90s Nickelodeon Naughty List According to St. Wizzleteets

Every Yaksmas, St. Stinky Wizzleteets likes to take out his master list of all the boys and girls to see who's been naughty or nice. Find out Stinky's verdict for '90s Nickelodeon stars Doug Funnie, Kel Mitchell, Roger Klotz, Angelica Pickles, Eliza Thornberry, Ferguson Darling, Arnold and Helga G. Pataki in this festive video clip!:

Watch The Splat every night from 10:00pm ET/PT on TeenNick USA! #TheSplat!
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"A Maccababy’s Gotta Do What a Maccababy’s Gotta Do" - "A Rugrats Chanukah" Clip

"A Rugrats Chanukah" wouldn't be complete without this special video clip from the Maccababies!:

Check out Nickelodeon USA's holiday highlights here on NickALive!.

Watch The Splat every night from 10:00pm ET/PT on TeenNick USA! #TheSplat!
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A Fair Warning from Danny Tamberelli - The Splat

Emotions run high on set when Danny Tamberelli from Nickelodeon's "The Adventures of Pete & Pete" and "All That" tries to record a block open for The Splat:

Watch The Splat every night from 10:00pm ET/PT on TeenNick USA! #TheSplat!
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How To Make A Nicktoons Dreidel

Happy Hanukkah! Download your very own printable version of this Nickelodeon-themed dreidel at http://at.nick.com/1jKzs3x and celebrate with SpongeBob, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Harvey Beaks, Sanjay, and Craig!:

Check out Nickelodeon USA's holiday highlights here on NickALive!.
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Video: Season's Greetings From "Henry Danger"

The cast of Nickelodeon's "Henry Danger" would like to wish you well this holiday season... but some things are easier said than done:

Watch "Henry Danger" on Nickelodeon!

Check out Nickelodeon USA's holiday highlights here on NickALive!.
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Hour of Code Q&A With Nickelodeon's Game Shakers

Cree, Maddie, Benji, and Thomas from "Game Shakers" talk coding and how you can get involved during Computer Science Education Week! Learn more about the Hour of Code at nick.com/code and code.org!:

Ever wanted to code like the #GameShakers? Nickelodeon are challenging YOU to spend an hour this week learning! Start coding at Nick.com/Code! #HourOfCode

Watch "Game Shakers", only on Nickelodeon!
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