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NBC proceeding on Lynch telepic

POW pic advances despite growing debate

Plans are moving forward at NBC to air a telepic next season based on the return of U.S. prisoner of war Jessica Lynch, despite a growing debate over the specifics of her rescue.

An NBC spokesperson said the network would “consider all the new information” that has come to light regarding the Lynch rescue. Given the growing controversy, however, some wonder whether it’s still possible to go forward with a movie at all.

Nine of her fellow soldiers were killed and Private First Class Lynch, a 19-year-old army supply clerk, was taken to a Iraqi hospital in late March after their convoy was ambushed. A U.S. special operations team raided the hospital on April 1 and recovered Lynch in a well-publicized rescue mission caught on nightvision cameras.

Pentagon accounts immediately following the raid hinted at how Lynch had attacked her Iraqi captors after she was taken and how U.S. forces faced brutal opposition while storming the hospital. Lynch was celebrated as a hero — and the Peacock announced plans to develop the TV movie, tentatively titled “Saving Jessica Lynch.”

But according to a BBC investigation, the U.S. military did not find any Iraqi forces guarding the hospital; it also expressed skepticism over reports that Lynch sustained stab and bullet wounds and had been mistreated at the hospital. Other reports have suggested that the Iraqi hospital even tried to return Lynch via ambulance to U.S. forces but were forced to turn around when the vehicle came under American fire.

The Pentagon has denied such reports; doctors have said Lynch carries no recollection of her captivity and rescue.

As the controversy first began to brew, NBC insiders said they didn’t expect it to affect “Saving Jessica Lynch.” The movie, they said, doesn’t focus on specifics but is mostly a classic rescue actioner. To maintain authenticity, however, the network obtained the story rights of Iraqi lawyer Mohammed Al-Rahaief.

Scribe John Fasano was scheduled to meet with Al-Rahaief last weekend to hammer out details. NBC execs were unavailable for comment. Dan Paulson and Bob Chmiel are the exec producers behind the telepic.

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