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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Sela Ward deserved her best actress nomination

Author: mcbergman from Los Angeles
20 December 2001

Sela Ward was outstanding in this movie and deserved her award for Best Actress. She publicly thanked the screenwriter, Linda Bergman, for such a compelling script. The movie remains one of the highest rated TV movies made for cable and is a must-see for those who followed Jessica's meteoric career.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant Woman, Sad Life

Author: Chris Winston from Fairbanks, U.S. Territory of Alaska
10 June 2002

Not the best told story but it covered many of the more pertinent events of this woman's life. The movie skimmed a bit, from what I can tell. The beginning, showing her rise in the ranks of TV news journalism, showed what was most important but merely mentioned other factors in what made this woman what she became. A very bright and brilliant woman she was. The movie did fairly well in getting that to viewers. Also, a very broken and mentally imbalanced woman she was. That was obvious but could have been portrayed better. What was wrong with her? We never really got to know. Along the way events and people popped up but why? At times I thought Sela Ward was wrong for the role - not young enough and it showed. Despite that she turned in a fabulous performance. Problem is the rest of the cast wasn't as strong and the writing wasn't all that perfect, either. Quite possibly another movie with the 96 Minute Syndrome - too much of a story for only 96 minutes. Nothing great was accomplished here. It was a sad story of a brilliant woman who had a very sad life, a woman who maybe could have gotten it together and made something genuinely good of her life. It ended too soon for her, though, and we have this to know her by. That's sad, too, 'cause this wasn't as brilliant as Jessica Savitch was. My grade: B-

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant, but flawed news reporter.

Author: suzanneoxford from United States
28 April 2012

This was a very sketchy and vague account of Jessica Savitch's life. If not for the outstanding performance by Sela Ward and Ron Silver, I think this film would have done much worse in ratings. We are given no background of this character and why she is so aggressive and driven to succeed as a newswoman. You only see a highly successful, celebrity type of anchorwoman who outshines many of her peers, but her personal life and relationships are disastrous. With Ron Kershaw, she has a stormy and tumultuous relationship. Still they do love each other and cannot seem to go very long without getting back together. Her first assignment was in Houston and then moved onto Philadelphia where she landed her first big assignment. Being very demanding and temperamental though, she is hard to work with and earns a bad reputation. Ultimately this will lead to her famous Meltdown video which was copied and sent to networks throughout the country.

Sadly she was plagued by tragedy both in marriage and in personal relationships. Both of her marriages failed, one from suicide of her spouse, who had been heavily into drugs. Then becoming pregnant, she suffered a miscarriage, which she was slow to recover from. Then cocaine became a problem for her later in her career which may have led to her professional downfall.

Still Jessica Savitch was a brilliant anchorwoman who gained a celebrity status. She was well known throughout our country and very popular too. Her legacy will live on as the first woman anchor in news and as a role model for many up and coming newswomen. For this alone she will be remembered.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A life left in ruins

Author: sol1218 from brooklyn NY
13 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

(Some Minor Spoilers) True story of the first network anchorwoman Jessica Savitch, Sela Ward, who's life turned into a living hell after she made it to the top of the heap of network news coverage and reporting. Starting out at KHOU TV in Houston Jessica's career sky rocketed to the far more watched KYW TV News in Philadelphia and then ended up beating out Barbara Walters, who was 20 years her senior, in becoming the first anchorwoman in TV history at the NBC Network. Put on the D.C beat during the 1976 presidential campaign that Jimmy Carter ended up winning Jessica was well out of her league in covering it. Not having any connections with the politicians she was covering Jessica soon ended up losing her ability to get the big scoop in that no one felt she was experienced enough to do her job. Still Jessica's rating were sky high and she managed to stay on the network as one of it's biggest and prettiest, she had no competition in that department at all, on the air stars!

It was Jessica's personal life that in the end did her and her career in with two failed marriages. One in which her husband D.C resident and gynecologist to the stars Donald Payne, William Converse Roberts, ended up hanging himself after going on an all day and night drug binge. Donald also introduced Jessica to hard drugs that she was addicted to for the remainder of her short, 36 years, life! There's also the Bowery bum like crude scuzzy and unshaven, was he's too poor to afford a razor and shaving cream, Ron Kershaw played by Ron Silver who for some strange reason Jessica put up with! That despite him physically as well as mentally abusing her! It may have been Ron's actions that gave Jessica the drive, in her surviving them, to get her to the top!

The world came to a tragic end for Jessica Savitch on the evening of October 23, 1983. It was then that Jessica was having dinner at the Chez Odette restaurant in New Hope PA. with her new boyfriend NY Post vice president Martin Fischbern. Fischbern later drove out in a blinding rainstorm and, not seeing the do not enter or dead end sign, had his station-wagon flip over and land in the Delaware Canal he together with Jessica together and her pet husky, given to her as a present by Ron Kershaw, Chevy drowned. Even in death Jessica got a raw deal in that on that very day-Oct 23, 1983-two stories overshadowed her senseless and tragic death in the news: The bombing of the US Marines barracks in Beirut Lebanon, where some 250 Marines were killed, as well as the US invasion of Granada! Speaking of both dumb and rotten luck Jessica had more then her share of it!!

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:


Author: yenlo from Auburn, Me
1 February 2000

There are some people that can have a film made about their life and some just can't. The late NBC TV News woman Jessica Savitch is one of them. Her life might be very interesting to watch as a Bio on A&E's Biography but as a movie even a made for TV film it just isn't there. This film just rambled on without point showing Savitch and her rise and eventual fall and ultimate death. Having watched her when she did the news on NBC it was sad to see this film do her or her memory no justice.

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5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Bland, pointless TV movie

Author: Libretio
28 January 2000


Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Sound format: Stereo

Bland, soap-opera dramatisation of the rise and fall of America's first female TV news anchor. With a tighter script and direction - and a better cast - this might have passed muster, but the flimsy story really wasn't worth the effort. A good documentary on the subject might have been the best way to go. Typically strong production values in the TV movie conveyor-belt manner, but it's all as superficial as old fluff, and just as engaging.

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Do we all really get what we deserve?

Author: helpless_dancer from Broken Bow, Oklahoma
31 January 2000

My mom read Jessica Savitch's bio and claimed it was nothing like this film. Like all life histories put on film, this one jumped around too fast, left out too much, then added a lot of entertaining fiction. If this woman acted in her life like she did in this picture, she certainly got just what she wanted. What a manipulative monster - arrogant, egotistical, cranky, power hungry, and for what? Adulation? From who? This was an entertaining movie with good acting and an interesting story; I just didn't take it too seriously.

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