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Crash Landing Should Result in Quick TV Movie

How long will it be before a network or two commissions a movie on the incredible events Thursday afternoon before and after a jet airplane made an emergency landing in the Hudson River?

Where is the hero, pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger III?

Why did CBS bail out so quickly Thursday afternoon? Those are the primary questions I have after watching much of the incredible TV coverage Thursday afternoon and evening and this morning.

It shouldn't take long before some production company jumps on the movie idea. All the ingredients are there -- including a hero, passengers with great stories to tell and a miraculous, happy ending that wouldn't be believable if it had been fiction.

It won't be hard to find a title, since practically everyone, including New York. Gov. David A. Paterson, is calling it "Miracle on the Hudson."

The governor stumbled a bit with his best line Thursday afternoon. He was about to say we've already had "Miracle on 42nd Street"  when he changed course and said "Miracle on 34th Street." Actually, he would have been right if he had said either or both.

I imagine one of the passengers on the flight, Billy Campbell, might try to put together a movie deal. He appeared on this morning's edition of NBC's "Today" along with several other passengers interviewed by Matt Lauer.

Lauer didn't identify Campbell beyond giving his name. He's the former president of The Discovery Networks and has been an executive at CBS, Warner Brothers and Miramax so he should be able to get a movie pitch heard if he has one.

The key to any project could be getting the assistance of pilot Sullenberger, who obviously isn't a man  immediately looking for the  limelight. If he did any TV interviews, I missed them. You might have expected Lauer to explain today where the pilot is and if and when he'll do interviews.

Of course, there is plenty of time for interviews since this is the kind of positive story that networks can run with for days. And considering the current state of the economy and the nation, an uplifting, miraculous story couldn't have arrived at a better time.

That's what made CBS' decision to leave the story so early Thursday even more surprising. It allowed affiliates like Channel 4 to carry syndicated programming. I think we could have done without Oprah for an afternoon for a success story of this magnitude. I think Oprah would even agree about that.

What did you think of the coverage? And who would you have play Sullenberger in the movie?

-- Alan Pergament

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About Talkin' TV

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament has continued to blog about television topics since retiring in 2010 as The News' television writer after 28 years on the beat. From local on-air personalities to ratings to the latest on network and cable programming, he keeps you informed.

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