Looks like NBC was premature in crowing that it was about to secure the rights to Pfc. Jessica Lynch's war story for its TV movie about her ordeal in Iraq. Despite a report in Thursday's New York Times that NBC was close to a deal to buy the rights to her story, the Lynch family announced a day later that there would be no deal with NBC or any other network. Instead, the former POW will sell her story to a publisher in the hopes of getting a book out by the end of the year, the Times reported Friday.
''The Lynch family has received many offers from people interested in bringing Jessica's story to life,'' family spokesman Randy Coleman said in a statement. ''Jessica and her family have concluded that the most appropriate and complete telling of this story will be in a book.'' The likely author is former Times reporter Rick Bragg, who has spent time with the Lynch family. Bragg's usual publisher is Knopf.
Given reports that Lynch suffered amnesia after her convoy was ambushed and remembers little of what happened before her discovery in an Iraqi hospital a week later, the book could be awfully short. Meanwhile, NBC is going ahead with a movie about the rescue, having purchased the story rights of the Iraqi lawyer who helped lead the rescuers to the injured private. Called ''Saving Private Lynch,'' it will star Canadian actress Laura Regan (''Wes Craven Presents: They'') as Lynch and will begin shooting within two weeks in order to be ready to air in time for November sweeps. Also NBC still might land a news interview with Lynch. After all, when authors go on tour to promote their books, they often stop by NBC's ''Today.''