ABC, NBC in Waco wacko race

First Amy Fisher, now a crazed Waco, Texas, cultist who proclaims himself to be Jesus Christ.

NBC and ABC are both reportedly exploring the prospect of hurry-up movies based on the siege of cultist David Koresh’s Waco compound in time for the May ratings sweeps, only two months away.

In addition, sources say NBC may also be mulling an attempt to quickly turn around a project based on the recent bombing of the World Trade Center, also in time for the sweeps.

NBC is talking about its Waco project, which cost the lives of four federal agents during an initial raid, with Patchett Kaufman Entertainment, which produces a series of telefilms for the network under the umbrella title “In the Line of Duty.” Ken Kaufman, a principal in PKE, referred inquiries to NBC, but said the network and production company “have mechanisms in place” to rapidly pursue such stories when they occur.

An NBC spokeswoman said the net has been pitched movies based on the New York bombing and the Koresh cult but hasn’t made deals to produce any pix.

The ABC project is reportedly in the works under the supervision of producers Eric Schotz and Gordon Freedman. Reached late yesterday, Schotz declined comment , and ABC officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

It bears noting that recently installed NBC West Coast president Don Ohlmeyer has experience with an earlier attempt to turn a high-profile story into a TV movie quickly to cash in on the media attention surrounding a story, having produced the movie “Heroes of Desert Storm,” which aired on ABC in October 1991.

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