Friday, February 9, 2007

The Most TV-Movie-Ready Thing You've Ever Heard NOT One Step Closer to Becoming a TV Movie; Granada America are Lying Shadeballs



Have you heard the one about the crazy astronaut lady who drove 900 miles in a diaper to try to kill another lady who was into another astronaut that the crazy lady was also into? Of course you have.

And in a development that should surprise absolutely no one (Defamer is already days ahead of the curve in narrowing down prospective casting choices), the film rights to Lisa Marie Nowak's story have been optioned [Ed. note: dead link]--specifically, the film rights to a New York Times article about Lisa Marie Nowak's story, written by John Schwartz. The production company who ponied up an undisclosed sum for the piece is Granada America--yes, the Granada America, producers of such legendary made-for-TV fare as the Jason Priestly vehicle I Want to Marry Ryan Banks and The Twelve Days of Christmas Eve, starring Molly Shannon. They have gone on record as saying that the story will be developed "either for a feature or television film".

If Granada America actually believes that The Stalker Wore Space Underpants: The Lisa Marie Nowak Story will ever see the inside of a multiplex--as opposed to the living rooms of proud, NASA-supporting Americans, where it rightfully belongs--they certainly are shooting for the moon.

Get it? The moon? That's where astronauts have gone on occasion!


Once the original link reporting this news had vanished, I was compelled to inquire further, and found this. Apparently, The New York Times is saying that neither the newspaper nor John Schwartz has or plans a deal with Granada. Damn you, lying producers of "But Can They Sing?"!

UPDATE (02/11/07): John Schwartz, the very man who wrote the New York Times article at this center of this story, has been kind enough to comment on this post and further clarify the matter. As you can see in his explanation of how this false report ever got out in the first place (his second comment--the fifth one down), he's taking the fact that his name and reputation were used in a big fat lie on the part of Granada America with more grace and maturity than I would have. Maybe that's why he writes for one of the most respected publications in the world and I often spent large portions of weekdays in pajama pants.


suaros said...

If that's not true, what about the report I heard today that now the husband of a veteran actor claims he is the father of Anna Nicole's baby?

Sandy Knauer said...

I am so glad we still have access to you, Johnny, and the inside scoop to all that is not really a scoop. Without you, I would have been on the edge of the couch, waiting for that film.

(Please tell us now if you are the father of Anna Nicole's baby, or if you have been contacted by Maury to come for your your paternity test. I'd like to pencil the air date in on my calendar so I don't accidentally watch The View instead.)

John Schwartz said...

Hi--the story on which this post is based was inaccurate, and the AP has issued a retraction.

Here's how the AP put it on Friday afternoon:

¶ BC-Arrested Astronaut Movie, KILL Advisory,0064
¶ AP Photo WX102
¶ 02-09-2007 15:30
¶ The Los Angeles story BC-Arrested Astronaut Movie has been killed. The New York Times says neither the newspaper nor its reporter has or plans a deal with Granada.
¶ A kill is mandatory.
¶ Make certain the story is not published.
¶ No sub is planned.

¶ The AP

A copy of the retraction can be found here,4670,ArrestedAstronautMovie,00.html

Johnny said...

Thanks for commenting, Mr. Schwartz (and bringing some very much undeserved New York Times class to this otherwise puerile blog). Have you had any contact with Granada America inquiring as to their excuse for making this up? They ought to have apologized to you personally.

John Schwartz said...

Well, I don't really know what happened inside of Granada or at the AP, and so there's not much I can say about that.

I just know what happened in my shop. Early in the week, the New York Times was negotiating to sell the rights to a single newspaper article, the one on Tuesday, to Grenada, through an outside Hollywood guy who handles such things. I was not informed of the negotiations at the outset, and wouldn't be since it has nothing to do with me. Individual stories are the property of the newspaper.

Then a person from the business development side of the paper called on Thursday, as a courtesy, to tell me that the negotiations for the rights to the single story were in progress, and that the Hollywood guy was also offering to get a consulting contract on my behalf.

I told the business development person that there was no way I could be involved in a consulting contract for a film while working on a beat, since it constitutes a clear conflict of interest and an incentive for me to pump up the coverage.

I then went to see an assistant managing editor of the paper in charge of ethical considerations to say that I thought that even the discussion of a consulting arrangement was inappropriate. He agreed, and sent off an email to the business development folks saying that there could be no further discussion of a contract for me. We all agreed that this was the way to go, and thought that it had all been put to rest.

So on Friday afternoon, I was stunned to see the AP wire, which stated I was going to "serve as a researcher on the project." I went back to the assistant managing editor, and we kicked off a round of phone calls with our business development folks and public relations staff to get the article corrected or retracted and to find out what happened. From what they tell me, there wasn't even a done deal with Granada to sell the rights to the individual article.

So it's not like I'm looking for a big apology, but I can't have this meme out there that says I'm hustling a movie deal that would constitute an obvious conflict of interest and be sleazy besides. And I knew that the initial wire story would be spread far and wide, and that the retraction would not. So I've been contacting blogs, like yours, that run the original wire to set things straight.

Sorry for being so long winded about this! And thanks for the opportunity to respond.