The rise of quickie tabloid TV movies — TV producers are racers to adapt Waco, Sol Wachtler, and other true-life stories

By Sharon Isaak
Updated April 02, 1993 at 05:00 AM EST

Fasten your seat belts: We’re entering the post-Amy Fisher era. The success of the three Long Island Lolita dramas has TV producers chasing ambulances right alongside the lawyers. As those movies proved, getting there first isn’t always the point, so in some cases you may see double trouble. Coming soon:

IN THE LINE OF DUTY: AMBUSH IN WACO (NBC) The FBI’s side of the Branch Davidians’ ongoing standoff in Texas, with Wings‘ Timothy Daly as David Koresh. Another Waco movie is reportedly being pitched to ABC.

WHEN LOVE KILLS (CBS) Marg Helgenberger plays a woman who found a hit man to kill her ex-brother-in-law. The hired gun (Gary Cole) fell in love with her, so he also murdered her husband.

WOMAN ON TRIAL: THE LAWRENCIA BEMBENEK STORY (NBC) Tatum O’Neal stars as the Milwaukee woman who escaped prison and fled to Canada after serving eight years for killing her husband’s ex-wife.

HURRICANE ANDREW (NBC) Based on the story of kamikaze Miami TV weatherman Bryan Norcross, who reported on the disaster from the basement of a building in the heart of the storm. Tony Danza is producing a competing version of the story for ABC.

THE SOL WACHTLER STORY (rumored to be in the works at ABC) No word on who’ll play the former New York State chief justice who allegedly tried to extort money from his ex-mistress (how about Martin Landau and Mary Tyler Moore?), but the film is reportedly being produced by TriStar Television, who did one version of the Amy Fisher story, so you know it’ll be juicy.