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911, Life-and-Death Reality

November 20, 2002

Listen, I know you studio execs are busy, so here's my pitch -- a reality TV show about 911 operators. It's got everything a hit drama needs: violence, suspense, happy endings.

Sort of like "ER," only it's the real deal: no stars, no big salaries, just veteran operators answering emergency phone calls and making snap life-and-death decisions.

Did I bring a treatment? I brought something better -- an unedited 911 tape:

RRRRING.

Operator: 911. Do you have an emergency?

Caller: Yeah. We're at the corner of Hollywood and Vine, and we can't find Jack Nicholson's star.

Operator: I'm sorry, sir. This is for emergencies only.

Caller: Oh, for heaven's sake. You don't know where Jack Nicholson's star is?

RRRRING.

Operator: 911 emergency.

Caller: What?

Operator: 911. What are you reporting?

Caller: Who is this?

Operator: You called 911. Is this an emergency?

Caller: What the -- ? Ella, were you playing with Mommy's cell again?

Operator: Please keep your phone away from your child, ma'am.

Caller: Ella's my cat.

RRRRING.

Operator: 911.

Caller:

Operator: 911. Do you have an emergency? Hello?

Caller:

Operator: Hello? Hello?

OK, let me fast-forward through this part. Trust me, there's some serious stuff here. Heart attacks. Kids getting hit by cars. Gunfights. It's just that half the folks who call 911 think a hangnail's an emergency. Jams up the whole system. Or they accidentally hit that one-button auto dial on their cell phones--they oughta disable those things, don'tcha think?

You're not going to pass on this, are you? Just give it a minute. Hey, you're looking awfully pale. It's -- you OK? Whoa, sit back down. Look, I'm going to get help. I'll call 911.

RRRRRRING.

RRRRRRING.

RRRRRRING.

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