NBC Stations Urged to Put Y2K Disaster Movie to Community Use

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An upcoming television movie that paints the Y2K computer problem as a major disaster could be used by local news affiliates as a springboard to more useful discussion about community preparedness, say grassroots organizers and a concerned government association.

'Y2K: The Movie' is scheduled to air on the NBC network Nov. 21 at 9 p.m. A synopsis of the movie on the NBC web site calls it a 'suspense thriller' that opens with a power outage along most of the eastern seaboard.

'Nick must stay ahead of the unpredictable Y2K bug as it spreads across the U.S., threatening everyone,' the promo goes on.

Fearful that the movie might cause unwarranted concern, the National Governor's Association requested a screening of the NBC movie before it aired. They were turned down, said spokesperson Terrell Halaska. The group is now suggesting that members urge local NBC affiliates to follow up the film with accurate Y2k information.

'We just don't want unecessary fears to be raised when states have been working very, very hard to be prepared,' said Halaska, adding, 'States have the information to answer any questions that might come up.'

Patricia Ducher, who has been active in Y2K preparedness groups in Tallahassee, Fla., said even if the plot sounds silly, the movie's potential impact should not be ignored.

People seem to fall into two camps of awareness about the computer-related bug, Ducher said. Some are apathetic and have been lulled to near sleep by government assurances. Others are pretty panicky. 'When you add a movie like this into the mix, it's not certain as to what impact it's going to have on whom.'