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AND SO IT GOES"": Adventures in Television by Linda Ellerbee

AND SO IT GOES"": Adventures in Television


Pub Date: May 19th, 1986
Publisher: Putnam

Like the ""Weekend"" and ""Overnight"" news pieces that earned the author/anchor her reputation, the stories in her memoirs are crisp, the punch lines snappy, the patter smooth and unaffected. Little network-or icon-bashing goes on here, though her career does suggest the shape of news to come: a little enlightenment, a lot of entertainment. The book follows the chronology of her career, beginning with the divorced mother of two who lands a job at the Associated Press, only to lose it when she accidentally sends a chatty, gossipy personal letter over the wire. Then it's on to local TV in Houston, New York, and finally to NBC News, on programs that ranged from the critically adored ""Overnight"" to the stillborn ""Now."" Though most of the book is humorous, there are think pieces thrown in. There is even some outrage, as in the uncovering of the Reagan administration's manipulation of statistics to falsely create a surge in violent crime that was ""brought under control"" two years later. In general, she feels that to call TV, as Paddy Chayevsky did, ""democracy at its ugliest"" is to underestimate the viewer. She dubs TV ""paternalism at its slickest,"" and throughout her career refuses to talk down to the audience, that unknown quantity referred to around the offices as ""the plumber from Albuquerque."" (Something like The New Yorker's Little Old Lady from Dubuque?) Her colloquial style serves these stories well, and the hip wit that made her ideal for ""Not-ready-for-prime-time News"" is amply in evidence. Ellerbee's career has shown that TV news can be fun without being vapid; these behind-the-scenes anecdotes show that what didn't make it on the air was even funnier.