As expected, former NBC News correspondent Linda Ellerbee joined ABC News on Wednesday to co-anchor and write the division's new "Our World" historical series that will premiere this fall.
Her co-anchor has not been named for the prime-time series, which will be up against two NBC hits, "The Cosby Show" and "Family Ties," and CBS' returning "Simon & Simon" series.
Ellerbee, who in her 11-year career at NBC became known for her sardonic, irreverent approach to the news on such now-defunct programs as "Weekend" and "NBC News Overnight," also will do commentary for ABC Radio, a spokeswoman said.
Ellerbee also is said to be discussing the possibility of doing a once-a-week, late-night program that would air after "Nightline." But sources said that project, even if ABC agreed to it, wouldn't start for at least six months.
"We are very pleased that Linda has decided to join us," ABC News President Roone Arledge said. "Her enormous talent will give added strength to 'Our World' and insure its high quality."
NEW JOBS: Ellerbee isn't the only woman with a new TV job. Two women best known as singers have landed assignments that will let them display other talents.
Former opera star Beverly Sills, who turned up on the CBS News program "Sunday Morning" last weekend interviewing Jimmy Breslin, has been signed to be a regular on the show. She'll continue doing interviews with what the network calls "a wide variety of interesting personalities."
Sills, 57, retired from singing in 1980 but continues as general director of the New York City Opera, a post she assumed in 1979.
Marilyn McCoo, meanwhile, has joined the cast of "Days of Our Lives" and will make her first appearance on the NBC soap opera Aug. 1.
McCoo, who first gained fame in the Fifth Dimension and more recently hosted the "Solid Gold" music series, will play a character named Tamara Price, a former college roommate of Marlena Brady (Deidre Hall) who is slated to become romantically involved with Abe Carver (Jim Reynolds).
NEW TIME: "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" will begin airing twice a day on KCET Channel 28 this fall. The public-TV station said it will continue the 6:30 p.m. weekday broadcast and begin a 3 p.m. broadcast starting Sept. 1.
The 3 p.m. telecast will be the live broadcast of the program from New York and Washington. KCET will continue to tape that feed for showing at 6:30 p.m., although the later broadcast can be updated if news developments warrant.
During the school year, KCET used the 3-4 p.m. slot to broadcast telecourses that viewers could take at home for college credit. The station remains committed to that programming and will schedule it elsewhere, said station President William Kobin. The decision to add the early "MacNeil/Lehrer" broadcast was prompted by a belief that a significant number of viewers would be interested in seeing a national newscast at 3 p.m., he said.
NEW HONOR: Red Skelton, a fixture on TV for 20 years, was named Wednesday to receive the Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
The comedian will receive the honor during the 38th annual prime-time Emmy Award ceremonies Sept. 21. The award, honoring lifetime achievements, previously has gone to such TV figures as Walter Cronkite, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope and Alistair Cooke.
"The Red Skelton Show," which ran from 1951 to 1971, featured comedy sketches and such classic Skelton characters as Clem Kadiddlehopper, Sheriff Deadeye and Freddie the Freeloader.
NEW OUTLET: "The Jewel in the Crown," winner of an Emmy Award as television's best miniseries of the 1984-85 season, will turn up on cable in the fall.
Produced by Granada Television of Britain and originally shown in the United States on PBS, the 15-hour dramatization of Paul Scott's "The Raj Quartet" has been licensed to USA Cable. The miniseries concerns the last years of British rule in India.