Local article about The Y2K Movie

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I taped the Y2K movie, and just watched it tonight (obligations are pesky, and interfere with entertainment at times...). But there was an interesting article in the paper about it, so here it is.

Network seeks to calm fears sparked by movie: NEW YORK (AP) -- In "Y2K" the movie, power outages darken a chunk of the East Coast and a nuclear meltdown threatens when computers misread the year 2000 as 1900.

With the made-for-TV movie about a world gone haywier this New Year's Eve, NBC and its affiliates tried to ease any fears viewers might have with disclaimer -- it's just a movie -- and news stories about the so-called Y2K computer glitch.

"This program is a purely fictional thriller," said an NBC disclaimer before the movie. "The characters and situations are not based on fact. THis program does not suggest or imply that any of these events could actually occur."

The Y2K glitch could result from programming shortcuts that used two digits to denote the year. Experts have warned that systems could fail if computers are not fixed to properly read 2000.

In the movie, Times Square goes dark at midnight and start Ken Olin single-handedly aver5ts a nuclear meltdown.

Several NBC affiliates ran stories about actual Y2K preparedness after the broadcast.

KARK-TV in Little Rock interviewed Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who said state offices, utilities and banks are ready for the new century.

"I don't think it's necessary to dig a big hole in the backyard and store 3,000 gallons of water in it," Huckabee said. "If we have anything at all, it'll be minor glitches."

In Pennsylvania, a state agency bought air time during a break in the movie to calm viewers' concerns.

"We believe Pennsylvania's utilities are ready," said the commercial from the state Public Utility Commission that aired on Pittsburgh's WPXI-TV. "We want to make sure the only interruption you experience from us is the one you're watching."

Some local NBC affiliates set up telephone banks to answer viewers' questions during the movie.

In Denver, KUSA-TV commissioned a poll that found most Coloradans are not worried about the so-called Y2K bug. Nonetheless, the station set up a phone line for viewers to call in with Y2K-related questions and assembled a panel of 15 experts to answer them.

In Columbus, Ohio, Deborah Countiss, executive director of the local Y2K Council, ran the call line at WCMH-TV. SHe said calls started coming in about 20 minutes into the movie.

"They are pretty much the typical Y2K questions," she said. "People ask basic questions: Will there be power? What about the banks? What about phone service?"

Countiss said some viewers called to complain about the movie. "People are saying that the movie is irresponsible, it's making people feel panicky," she said.

At least one company was profiting from Y2K panic.

Y2Kmart, a Dexter, Maine-based purveyor of gas masks, dehydrated food and other millennium supplies, said its sales tripled in the days after NBC began broadcasting promotional spots for the movie.

"A lot of people are saying, 'I want to get my order in before it gets real busy,'" said company president Mark Miclette.

-- S. Kohl (kohl@hcpd.com), November 24, 1999


I enjoyed watching the movie--no one I liked died. I'm easy to please...

But I'm surprised they put it on now. I could see this movie starting a panic, if combined with some other event, like a shortage or rapidly rising prices, maybe.

One weird thing is that certain relatives who have pooh-poohed the whole thing are planning to be in this area (safer than where they are) at New Year's, JIC. Just as strangely, I now seem to feel like nothing will happen, but I don't know if that's just because I'm prepared and so I don't worry, or if I got emotionally burned out, or what. At least I have no impulse to get rid of anything, and I'm glad I've done what I did. The only thing that doesn't match what seems to be the situation is the big deal the government, in its private preparations, and business, in theirs, is still making out of this thing. That makes me think something is up, somewhere! Confrontation with China? It will be so neat to witness history, this year. Hope reality ends happily like the movie did!

-- S. Kohl (kohl@hcpd.com), November 24, 1999.

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