Let’s hear it for CBS. It is the first network to make a serious bid for the Pvt. Jessica Lynch story. They have officially offered her exclusive interview rights with somebody like Mike Wallace, a $100 million movie, a program on MTV, worldwide book rights and an office to handle advertising sponsorship.
The reason they could offer all these things is that CBS is part of Viacom, which owns a TV network, cable channels, a motion picture company, a giant book publishing company and an office that packages celebrity testimonials.
At the moment, Pvt. Lynch can’t respond to anyone because she is still in the Army and recovering from serious injuries.
This did not stop CBS from coming up with the offer. They maintain if they didn’t do it first another network would.
The Cross Breeding Broadcasting Network has also been putting a package together. The spokesperson, Sonia Spin, said, “We are now working on a plan to put the CBS offer to shame.”
“How could you possibly top them?”
“We’re going to offer Jessica her own reality show. Each week she will interview a platoon of Marines, paratroopers or Navy flyers and decide which one she will date.”
“The Pentagon will love that,” I said.
“And we’re offering to give her her own cable station in West Virginia. It’s like owning a money-printing machine.”
“Will people be able to get ‘Law and Order,’ ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘Jerry Springer’ on it?”
“Yes, and also war movies with John Wayne, Oral Roberts’ ministries and reruns of ‘The Guiding Light.’ ”
“I guess the big deal is the movie. How are you going to portray Jessica?”
“We are working on the script. We want Julia Roberts to play Pvt. Lynch and Arnold Schwarzenegger to play her foxhole pal.”
“I hope you can get him.”
“We can unless he runs for governor of California. If we can’t get Arnold, we’ll get Tom Cruise. Our writers have handed in the scene where Arnold and Jessica kill 65 Iraqi soldiers before they run out of ammunition.”
“Jessica says she can’t remember anything after her vehicle crashed,” I said.
“That is why we can write anything we want. In our movie, she gets captured and is taken to one of Saddam’s palaces. Then the big scene comes when Gene Hackman and Tom Hanks rescue her with the Delta Force and Navy SEALs. Of course the Pentagon will give us everything we need.”
“That tops anything CBS can do. And the book will follow?”
Sonia said, “We will get a ghost writer for Jessica like Jayson Blair. He is known for his imaginative writing and he can be trusted.”
I said, “The only thing left are the commercials.”
“We’ll have Jessica wearing her Army uniform, carrying a gun. She will do spots for Avon, Bayer aspirin, McDonald’s hamburgers and GI Joe dolls.”
“Everything you have told me so far has class. Why the furor?”
“All the other conglomerates are jealous. We are only doing what any network would do, except we will be doing it better.”
“I would hate to be Jessica, the way everyone keeps throwing money at her.”
Ms. Spin said, “That’s the American Dream.”
(Art Buchwald is a nationally syndicated columnist.)