What’s Worth Watching: ‘Hello, I Must Be Going’ on Nickelodeon for Tuesday December 15

Linda Ellerbee
Larry Busacca/Getty Images/Nickelodeon
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 13: Linda Ellerbee attends the 20th Anniversary of Nick News with Linda Ellerbee at Paley Center For Media on October 13, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

Hello, I Must Be Going: 25 Years of Nick News with Linda Ellerbee (Tuesday, Dec. 15, 8/7c, Nickelodeon)

“And so I go,” said the great Linda Ellerbee at a reception in her honor last week at Viacom’s Times Square headquarters. Playing off her trademark “And so it goes” phrase, the renowned newscaster and journalist was acknowledging with grace and understated pride her decision to retire from TV after a career spanning more than 40 years. Many of her fans first encountered her at NBC News, where her stints on the newsmagazine Weekend and, even more memorably, on the 1980s NBC News Overnight late-night news program demonstrated her knack for straight talk that was as disarmingly witty as it was blunt and fresh.

For the last 25 years, Ellerbee and work/life partner Rolfe Tessem’s Lucky Duck Productions has been devoted to the mission of explaining current and world events to the younger set in Nick News, the groundbreaking docuseries that has won 10 Emmys, three Peabodys and, a first for a children’s show, the Edward R. Murrow Award in 2009 for a special titled Coming Home: When Parents Return From War. Ellerbee never talked down to the kids in her audience, illuminating such troubling subjects as AIDS, racism and bullying, and putting tragedies such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina into personal, human context. (Would that grown-ups had someone like Ellerbee to lay it all out so calmly and compassionately.) In the hourlong retrospective Hello, I Must Be Going, Ellerbee and Nick News look back on the show’s most provocative, entertaining and moving moments, and it promises to be a keeper.

At her celebration, Ellerbee said she hoped Nickelodeon will continue to fly the Nick News banner without her. It may never be the same, but what better way to honor her legacy than to continue to keep kids in the loop on the important matters of the day. Here’s to the next generation. And so it will go.