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NBC eyes POW’s rescue

Network trying to secure official rights to Lynch story

The dramatic rescue of former POW Jessica Lynch played like something out of a movie — and soon it will be just that.

NBC is fast-tracking development on a two-hour telepic detailing Lynch’s jaw-dropping ordeal and the preparations that went into planning her rescue. Peacock has met with writers and is expected to choose a producer within a few days.

No timetable is in place yet, but the goal is to get the movie on the air during the early part of the 2003-04 season. Peacock longform and alternative topper Jeff Gaspin is overseeing development of the pic.

CBS also is said to be hearing pitches about the idea of a Lynch pic, as it always does whenever there are such headline-grabbing events, but no decisions about such a pic have been made. ABC, however, is said not to be interested, though some industry insiders believe Lifetime might be a logical home for the pic.

NBC is trying to secure official rights to Lynch’s tale, but web is prepared to go forward with a movie using news articles and other public information as the basis for a script.

“This story is ‘Mission: Impossible,’ but it’s real,” said one NBC staffer. “It’s as good a story as you can get from this war. It’s uplifting, heroic, compelling and dramatic.”

Mission insight

In addition to documenting Lynch’s captivity, movie likely will focus on what went into getting the Army supply clerk out of an Iraqi hospital and back into friendly hands. Lynch’s rescue involved a great deal of spy movie-like drama, including a mole who tipped off U.S. forces as to Lynch’s whereabouts.

“You see this sort of thing in spy movies and wonder if it’s really true,” the NBC insider said. “Now we know it is true.”

Peacock had considered a quickie telepic on rescued Utah teen Elizabeth Smart, but has decided against such a project for now.

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