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Linda Ellerbee, The Deal Maker

May 17, 1986|JAY SHARBUTT | Times Staff Writer

NBC News correspondent Linda Ellerbee came to Hollywood this week to promote her first book, "And So It Goes," a sardonic, light-hearted account of her years in TV news. She left with a deal to write her first movie and, maybe her first Broadway musical.

Film producer Bernie Brillstein says he and actress Marsha Mason have optioned "And So It Goes" as the basis for a film and a musical, with Ellerbee to write the film script. "I think eventually the book would make a great Broadway musical," he added.

Ellerbee, who appears regularly on NBC's "Today" show and co-anchored the short-lived "NBC News Overnight," struck her deal Wednesday afternoon and announced it that night on NBC's "Tonight Show," where the Texas-born reporter was among the guests interviewed by Johnny Carson.

"I've described the book as the adventures of a sane person in an insane business," she said Thursday before appearing on Tom Snyder's afternoon talk show on KABC-TV Channel 7 and then flying to Houston for more interviews about her book.

Brillstein, executive producer of such film comedies as the megahit "Ghostbusters" and "The Blues Brothers" and "Spies Like Us," said his firm, the Brillstein Co., would co-produce Ellerbee's film with Mason's company, Come Lately Productions.

He said it hasn't been decided yet if Mason would star in the proposed film, which he said probably would be made for theatrical release.

"Linda probably would punch me for this, but I'd love to call it 'Twinkies,' " he said. He referred to her book's nickname for certain "pretty, pearl-wearing, vacant-headed paper dolls" who occasionally are found working as local TV anchors.

Ellerbee, a former Associated Press reporter who has been with NBC News for nearly 11 years and is known for her wry, irreverent on-air manner, said that she didn't know when she'd find time to adapt her book for film.

Right now, she said, she's only thinking of finishing her book-promotion tour, then returning to work at NBC in New York, where she contributes a regularly weekly "Today Show" segment called "T.G.I.F."--Thank God It's Friday.

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