Friday, July 20, 2012

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: Nick News with Linda Ellerbee

Today we start off with a simple, but complex quote. "Ignorance is bliss." As long as we ignore the tragedies of what's going on in the world, we'll be more happier and content with our lives. But for some reason, if there's a huge tragic event going on that every news station announces, we can't help but watch it with shock and awe. We feel our innocence die a little. The world that we thought was simple and safe as children has now became dark and dangerous as adults. We wonder when did the world change into this unhappy place? Why are people so cruel? Also, how will we tell our children about what's going on?


Well in 1992, Nickelodeon solved that problem. A news program for kids that tells children what's going on in the world as well as everyday problems that kids are going through like bullying, abuse, etc. That news program was known as Nick News with Linda Ellerbee.

Originally known as Nick News W5, the Nickelodeon news program taught children the who, what, where, when, and why of everything that was going on in the world. During the 90's, there was so many things going on at the time such as AIDS scare, conflict and war in other countries, global warming, Bill Clinton becoming president, and more. It wasn't afraid to tell kids and teens straight forward on what was happening. They talked to kids in a way that made them feel like they were adults. Nick News with Linda Ellerbee represented a news program that kids can easily understand and be aware. Not to a point in which they get scared, but in a way that tells the news straight on and ending it with a glimmer of hope that things will get better.

The news program was created by Linda Ellerbee. Before then, she was a reporter on The Today Show and had her first anchor job in Weekend. She would work on other news programs like Good Morning America, NBC News Overnight, and Our World right before she left with her business partner Rolfe Tessem and started their own production company Lucky Duck Productions.

When creating Nick News, Linda Ellerbee wasn't going to host originally. There were four other candidates chosen to audition for the role of hosting the show. Linda decided to give it a go at the last minute. Two weeks later after the auditions were over, Linda was chosen to host the show. One of the set designers of Nick News said that the other candidates were "too loud and obnoxious". 

According to Ellerbee, when she heard that she got the job, she was honored. "I was honored when I was named host of Nick News. The news will be about kids and their everyday lives."


Nick News with Linda Ellerbee would show up every Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. and discuss about events that were going on at the time. Kids would be exposed to not only the current news, but also issues that kids were going through. One example would be about autism and Asperger's Syndrome.

Another example would be about bullying.

Nonetheless, Nick News was a news program first and there were so many things discussed that were very important. One for example was about the freedom to believe in a certain religion of your choice.

Others included the attack on the World Trade Center in 9/11 and kids would discuss on how they felt about the event.

Others included the 2008 election between Barack Obama and John McCain. It would discuss about each president individually and the kids would vote on who they thought was the best president to run the U.S. This was known as Kids Pick The President. In the end, the kids chose Barack Obama as the president of their choice.


Nick News with Linda Ellerbee is the only program that debuted in 1992 that's still going on today. It was the #1 rated program in 1992 and has never been below #6 for a number of years making it one of the most consisted rated programs on Nickelodeon. It has won many awards including the Parent's Choice Award, the Columbia duPont Award, the Peabody Award, and the prestigious award. 

This was one of the shows that I didn't really watch as often as a kid, but as I grew older, I respect and appreciated what Linda Ellerbee was doing and still doing to tell kids about the news in a way that doesn't talk down to them. I enjoy watching Nick News and learning something new. I saw the tears going down a teen's face discussing about the events at 9/11. I related to the kid with Asperger's Syndrome, since I have the condition myself. I see African Americans telling people how proud they are of their culture during Black History Month. I saw a group of kids talking about bullying and how it hurts them. Seeing Nick News again as an adult makes me feel more thankful that this show is still going on for kids. As claimed by the jurors of the duPont Columbia Awards, "Nick News is possibly the written and the most intelligent news program ever."

However, for some reason or another, out of all the shows that Nickelodeon has ever aired, many people have claimed that Nick News with Linda Ellerbee is the WORST show ever! I have read many hateful responses about Nick News. Admit it, when you were a kid and Nick News would be on TV, the first thing you would do is change the channel to find something else to watch. It's okay, I did it too when I was a kid. I didn't want to hear about something sad going on, I wanted to watch cartoons. Kids didn't want to learn things when they watched TV. They already did enough of that in school. They wanted to watch their favorite programs and laugh. They didn't want to be informed about what was going on in the world. They wanted to rot their brains more than learn something new. There's even a Facebook page called "I hated Nick News with Linda Ellerbee when I was a kid" that has over 80,000 Likes...and still growing. 

Maybe it's true as I quoted earlier, "Ignorance is bliss." Maybe we don't want to know what's going on in the world. Maybe we're already stressed out with what's going on with our own lives that we don't want to hear other sad news events. Let's take today for example, the tragic event that happened in the movie theater at Aurora, Colorado. People were sitting down excited to see The Dark Knight Rises when all of a sudden, a man came in with tear gas and started shooting people. As of now, 14 are dead and 36 are injured. Do we want to hear that? Maybe not. We are still probably going to see the movie regardless of the event that happened. But still, you know deep down inside, you can't forget and deny on what happened. It'll still be on your mind regardless. Us people must be respectable and must take a few moments time to give the acknowledgement that this has happened and we can't ignore it.

Or you just hate Nick News because you thought it was boring and uninteresting. 9 times out of 10, that was the reason why people hated the show. Here's a few things I read to give you an idea:

"when ever this shit was on, i would go watch cartoon network, usually it was Johnny Bravo or Two Stupid Dogs and i would be pleased."

"Oh jeez, i remember watching nick and being so into the marathon of my fav shows then this came on and ruined all my fun! I dont even understand why they had it running for as long as they did.. No one watched it!! Ever!"

"This is very boring! It'll put you to sleep in a heartbeat.It's about this idiot named Linda Ellerbee and talks about things going on in the world. LAME! If you wanna be entertained watch Regular Show not this dreck."

"It's so retarded today they're doing something about the earthquake in haiti. We have our own damn problems, why should we help other countries? There are thousands of orphans and homeless people in America. Why should we feel sorry?"

Wow! Just wow! I feel that this show has gotten a huge bad rap over the years. These reasons of hating the show because it was boring and uninterested is ridiculous. What did you expect when you saw the news about 9/11, a clown that would be riding a unicycle and juggling bowling pins? If you don't like a program, you have every right to change it. That's fine. But I really want you to give the show another change, watch it, and appreciate what it's doing. It talks to kids as equals, as individuals, not dumbed down. I think that if Nick News would have been released in today's time, they would get some pop stars and talk about celebrity stuff and music. They wouldn't give kids the respect and knowledge that they deserve. They didn't care for Nick News then and they definitely don't care for it now. That's a real shame.

Do yourself a favor, go to, give a break to watching T.U.F.F. Puppy, iCarly, SpongeBob, or Victorious and watch something informative and truthful every once in a while. This is the most realistic show you'll ever see on Nickelodeon and they have 20 years to prove it. I highly recommend watching this show! Go see it for yourself and you'll see the amazing job that Linda Ellerbee has done for children and teens discussing about everyday issues in a way that's not dumbed down.

That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


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