The following article was originally published in The Caucus for Producers and Writers Journal in the 1980’s.
A landmark day took place the fall of 1992 in the network television movie business. ABC, CBS, and NBC each began production, on the same day, with the same scheduled finish day, of a movie about the Amy Fisher/Joey Buttafuoco story. NBC had her rights, CBS had his, and ABC had “public domain.” Each competed to be the first to reach the public and to be the most “authentic” version of the story. NBC “won” by getting their version on the air first, December 28, 1992 and scored seemingly unbeatable numbers (19.1 rating/30 share) , garnering their highest ratings of the season for a television movie. CBS and ABC followed six nights later, January 3, 1993, running head to head. ABC touted theirs as the most critically appreciated movie and the one (they had “public domain”) that told the “whole story.” CBS was relying on its wonderful Sunday Night lead-in of 60 Minutes and “Murder She Wrote.” ABC ended up the complete winner with a 19.5 rating/30 share versus CBS’ 14.3 rating/22 share, to come up number one in the Amy Fisher race. Which was the better movie? Which told. the “true story? Does it matter?