Fox Broadcasting Co. is dropping out of the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding TV movie competition, according to sources.

The weblet had been developing a telefilm based on public-domain material through Citadel Entertainment, which declined comment.

Fox officials couldn’t be reached.

NBC apparently beat out Fox by announcing an April 30 airdate — the first Saturday of the May sweeps — for its own in-house production, “The Tonya & Nancy Story,” contributing to Fox’s decision to freeze its project (Daily Variety , March 17).

ABC has its own movie in the works for May, through producer Steve Tisch and the Walt Disney Co., based on a rights deal with Harding’s rival, Kerrigan. Unlike NBC’s entry, which will focus on events surrounding the attack on Kerrigan, the ABC telefilm is based on Kerrigan’s life, dealing more peripherally with the much-publicized Jan. 6 assault.

Harding pleaded guilty Wednesday to a count of hindering prosecution. Her sentence included probation and a $ 100,000 fine for the felony charge.

Fox only recently became a competitor in regard to such fact-based movie fare , with a version of the Menendez brothers murders scheduled for April 18. CBS is also producing a four-hour miniseries on that case.

With Fox out of the Harding-Kerrigan Nielsen hunt, the Amy Fisher-Joey Buttafuoco story retains its distinction as the only subject to spawn three like-themed made-for-TV movies airing within weeks of each other.

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