Well get ready for the hype: Here is a press release for a made for TV movie that should stir the pot a bit and below that is a press release regarding a show that came on this weekend:


17, 2006



Joely Richardson,
Stacy Keach, Ann Cusack, Justina Machado,

Scott Cohen and David
Ramsey Star

There are times that test

humanity and challenge the soul of a community or a nation. News images and

headlines tell stories of rising waters, quaking ground and tragic acts by man

himself. But the real story, the human story, is found in the lives changed

forever, in the strength of the survivors, and the resilient hope that gives

them the courage to recover.

On TUESDAY, MAY 9 (8:00-10:00 p.m., ET), ABC

will bring such a story to television in a two-hour original movie. “Fatal

Contact: Bird Flu in America” follows an outbreak of an Avian Flu from its

origins in a Hong Kong market through its mutation into a virus transmittable

from human to human around the world. The meticulously researched film stars Joely

Richardson (“Nip/Tuck”), Stacy Keach (“Prison Break,” “Blackbeard”), Ann Cusack

(“Grey’s Anatomy,” “Ghost Whisperer”), Justina Machado (“Six Feet Under”), Scott

Cohen (“Street Time,” “Law & Order: Trial by Jury”) and David Ramsey (“All

of Us”).

John M. Barry, Distinguished

Visiting Scholar at Tulane University and writer of the New York Times

bestseller, “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in

History,” served as a consultant on the project. Barry’s book, which includes a

new afterword on today’s Avian Flu, focuses on the 1918 Spanish Flu which

killed between 50-100 million people.

[Editors Note: The film deals with

the current threat of the Avian Flu virus (H5N1). Scientists continue to debate

the degree to which the virus can mutate and be easily passed among human


The movie opens with an

American businessman flying to Hong Kong to

meet with his Asian manufacturers. After 11 meetings in three countries in six

days, he starts his return to Virginia.

But before he returns home, the Chinese government has informed the World

Health Organization that a new strain of the Avian Flu virus was discovered in

a local marketplace. Over 1.2 million infected birds were killed in an attempt

to eradicate this strain. Dr. Iris Varnack (Richardson) of the Epidemic Intelligence

Service receives an emergency summons to China, where she discovers these

efforts may have come too late. Despite the early warning, the H5N1 virus has mutated

into a version that can spread from human to human — shown in eye-opening

detail whenever the microbes start to permeate the atmosphere – across races,

nationalities, genders and ages.

The story is seen through the

eyes of other key characters, including Collin Reed (Keach), Secretary of

Health and Human Services, who is the primary go-between for Dr. Varnack with

the state and local leaders back in America; Denise Connolly (Cusack),

wife of the American businessman, as she deals with his illness and then helps

to support other infected people;

Governor Mike Newsome (Cohen)

of Virginia, who, upon learning of this deadly virus, puts his city in

quarantine and then breaks down the state into communities that can nurture

each other; Alma Ansen (Machado), a hospital nurse in New York City who

suddenly finds herself in the midst of escalating chaos working at a new and

hastily constructed flu facility; and Curtis Ansen (Ramsey), Alma’s husband in

the National Guard who was brought back to New York.

“Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in

America” is executive-produced by Diana Kerew (“Surrender Dorothy”) and Judith

Verno (“The Hunt for the BTK Killer”) for Sony Pictures Television. The movie was

written by Ron McGee (“Atomic Twister”) and directed by Richard Pearce (Academy

Award winner for “Hearts and Minds,” Peabody Award winner for “Nothing Sacred”).

ABC Media Relations: (West

Coast) Jonathan Hogan (818) 460-7016

(East Coast) Patrick Preblick (212) 456-7819

Sony Media Relations: Karen Barragan (310) 244-6467

— ABC —

Bird Flu: Facts and FearsThe cross-platform networks of NBC News examine Avian flu in special report on April 21-23NBC NewsUpdated: 9:26 a.m. ET April 20, 2006NBC News will take an unprecedented look at the Avian flu: its myths, its realities, and its potential threat to the country and the world? in a division wide series, kicking off with the “Today” show on Friday, April 21 and culminating in an hour-long look on “Dateline” on Sunday, April 23.

Beginning on “Today,” on Friday, April 21, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer will have an in-depth look at what the government’s response plan will be if bird flu indeed hits, how will it affect building closures, airports and major city centers. That evening, on “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” correspondent Tom Costello reports from Seattle, the city experts say could be one of the first places in the continental U.S. to see positive tests in birds. Coverage will include how Seattle is preparing for a possible outbreak, and what concerns, if any, it has about the Federal government’s level of preparedness. Additional interviews will include Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, who will discuss the Federal government’s plan, and a conversation with Jeff Levi, who is with Trust for America’s Health, and a critic of U.S. bird flu preparedness. Ann Curry will also appear on “Nightly News” to discuss her extensive reporting in Southeast Asia on the effects of bird flu. Weekend editions of both programs will take a look at bird flu as well.

On “Saturday Today,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Health’s infectious disease expert, will walk through the steps every family should take in anticipation of, and in the event of a bird flu pandemic. He will lay out a preparedness plan for medications, food and family communication. On the weekend edition of “NBC Nightly News with John Seigenthaler,” reports will focus on the business impact of bird flu, including how poultry producers and other companies will address and manage public concern about the safety of the food supply. Another report will focus on chicken farming in the United States. NBC NEWS SPECIAL REPORT • Why worry? Experts explain• Skeptics warn against hype• Is your town ready?• Robert Bazell: Preparations long overdue• Ann Curry: Bird flu’s fear factor • Interactive map: Track bird flu’s spread• Migratory routes: Follow the birds• MSNBC.com: Bird Flu|What you need to know• On TV: Today, Nightly News, Dateline, MSNBC In an hour-long broadcast of “Dateline” to air on Sunday, April 23 (7:00 PM/ET), co-anchor Ann Curry takes an in-depth look at what would happen if a virus like the avian flu caused a pandemic.

 For the special report, “Dateline” consults experts on the front lines from the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh, the Centers for Disease Control, the United Nations, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization. In an effort to offer viewers an understanding of how a flu pandemic would affect their lives, the report illustrates how the virus could potentially enter and spread throughout cities in America and around the world, visualizing possible scenarios resulting from human contact.

On Friday, MSNBC will cover the issue with a variety of reports and with special guest Dr. Sue Bailey, MSNBC analyst and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. The network will take a look at how a possible outbreak of bird flu would affect the U.S. poultry industry should it reach our shores and will also examine preparations underway throughout the U.S. and especially in Alaska, which is expected to be the first U.S. state to spot the disease. Dr. Bailey will appear on MSNBC throughout the day and will answer viewer questions submitted through MSNBC.com. She will also appear on “Hardball with Chris Matthews” (5 and 7 p.m. ET) to discuss the politics of the bird flu. MSNBC will continue to cover the issue over the weekend with additional reports and guests.