Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, February 10, 2021

[EDIT: The story behind this post has turned out to be completely baseless, as informed below. Further elaboration on the story behind the story can be found here.]
It’s not really so remarkable that the story of deranged NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak would be optioned for a television movie.

Here’s the unique aspect:

Granada America, which has produced made-for-TV films based on other real-life personalities, optioned a [New York Times] article written by reporter John Schwartz, who will serve as a researcher on the project.

In other words, they’re not optioning the story from NASA, Nowak’s family or anyone else directly involved. Rather, the production company is getting approval, as it were, from one of the media outlets who covered the facts of the situation. It’s an important distinction. It points to something of a loophole, too: If the primary source doesn’t want to play ball, you could always base your derivative work on a newspaper article, TV report, or whatever.

This development also marks the first (as far as I know) prominent application of the New York Times’ efforts to broker its content for Hollywood adaptation.

The saga of a diaper-wearing space cadet, trekking 800 miles to kill a romantic rival. Somehow, I imagine the Sulzberger family was hoping the paper’s first movie splash would be somewhat more high-class.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 02/10/2021 03:11:49 PM
Category: Publishing, Movies, True Crime
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  1. Hi-the Associated Press story that this post was based on has been retracted; it’s simply not true that the NYT or I have a deal to work on a movie project, nor have I sought a deal.

    Here’s what the AP retraction, released a couple of hours after the original flawed story appeared:

    ¶ BC-Arrested Astronaut Movie, KILL Advisory,0064
    ¶ AP Photo WX102
    ¶ 02-09-2021 15:30
    ¶ EDITORS:
    ¶ 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.

    Comment by John Schwartz — 02/10/2021 @ 11:47:03 PM

  2. Thanks John. Unbelievable that such a big error passed through, and lives on via indiscriminate wire pickups.

    Here’s a link to the retraction. I’ll follow up with an updated post, with further thoughts.

    Comment by CT — 02/12/2021 @ 12:40:12 AM

  3. Thank YOU, Costa, for letting me respond.

    Comment by John Schwartz — 02/12/2021 @ 02:52:09 PM


    I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that this past weekend’s news of a TV movie deal with the New York Times over the bizarre story of NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak has turned out to be entirely false.

    The disappointment doesn’t stem from my fervo…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 02/12/2021 @ 11:11:50 PM


    Grant Barrett, of Double-Tongued Dictionary and “A Way with Words” fame, favors New York Times readers with the contenders for 2007’s “Word of the Year” crown.

    Barrett disclaims this list as being merely partial, and indeed, it’s something of …

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 12/23/2007 @ 02:35:08 PM

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