9/11 Anniversary: What the TV Networks Are Planning


A network-by-network rundown of the retrospectives, specials and live coverage planned in connection with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In connection with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, U.S. television networks are planning an ambitious schedule of retrospectives and original programming. Here's a network-by-network breakdown ....


CBS News will be live at Ground Zero beginning Friday, Sept. 9 with The Early Show and the CBS Evening News broadcasting live from Ground Zero Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Evening News anchor Scott Pelley will lead off the division’s live Sept. 11 coverage beginning at 8 a.m. Bob Schieffer also will anchor Sunday public affairs show Face the Nation live from the site, while 60 Minutes will present an 9/11 themed broadcast.

Robert DeNiro – whose Tribeca Film Festival grew out of the ashes of 9/11 – hosts CBS’ 9/11: 10 Years Later (Sept. 11, 8 p.m.), an update of French filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet and ’James Hanlons original documentary that contained the only known footage of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center. (The Naudet brothers were shooting a documentary with the firefighters from Engine 7 in Lower Manhattan at the time of the attacks.) The new film includes updates with firefighters who appeared in the original film as well a tour of the ongoing construction efforts at Ground Zero.


Diane Sawyer heads back to Good Morning America to anchor the program with current co-host George Stephanopoulos beginning at 8 a.m. on Sept. 11, with Robin Roberts at Ground Zero. David Muir, Christiane Amanpour and Katie Couric (who was anchoring NBC’s Today show with Matt Lauer ten years ago) also will contribute to the broadcast. Later that night (10 p.m.), newsmagazine 20/20 will have Remembrance and Renewal: 10 Years After the 9/11 Attacks.


MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel will anchor Day of Destruction – Decade of War (Sept. 1, 9 p.m.), examining how the world has changed since that fateful day.

NBC News will be live at the various memorial sites beginning at 8 a.m. on Sept. 11 for America Remembers. Brian Williams will anchor from Ground Zero with Meet the Press host David Gregory at the Pentagon. Tom Brokaw, who anchored the network’s 9/11 coverage ten years ago, also will contribute to the special broadcast. (It will be simulcast on MSNBC.) And NBC News anchors recall personal memories of that day for 9/11: In Our Own Words (Sept. 11, 8 pm).


In addition to live coverage of the Sept. 11 memorial dedications in New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Penn., CNN also will bow multiple themed documentaries. Footnotes of 9/11 (Sept. 6, 11 p.m.) features interviews with people who are literal footnotes in The 9/11 Commission Report – and became figurative footnotes to history – such as the ticket agents who checked in some of the terrorists and the maintenance technician who answered a call from one of the planes under attack. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta examines the effects of the toxic dust and noxious fumes at Ground Zero in Terror in the Dust (Sept. 7, 11 p.m.). Beyond Bravery: The Women of 9/11 (Sept. 8, 11 p.m.) profiles female rescue workers at Ground Zero.


Steven Spielberg’s six-hour documentary The Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero focuses on the planning and building of the 104-story One World Trade Center, which will air commercial free Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. and conclude Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. on Discovery. The Rising will encore on The Science Channel, Sept. 11 beginning at 5 p.m.

OWN explores personal stories of twins whose siblings were killed in the terrorist attacks in The Twins of the Twin Towers, Sept. 11, 9 p.m., and the lives of five widows of firefighters killed that day in From the Ground Up (Sept. 11, 10:15 p.m.).


A&E and Bio Channel have four 9/11 themed programs including When Pop Culture Saved America (Sept. 5, 8 p.m. on Bio), a two-hour documentary that looks at the flurry of celebrity headlined charity concerts, telethons and specials in the wake of the attacks. The net also has 9/11 themed installments of Bio series I Survived (Sept. 6, 8 p.m.) and Beyond: Messages from 9/11 (Sept 10, 10 p.m.). A&E’s Portraits from Ground Zero (Sept. 10, 10 p.m.), has photographer Andrea Booher – one of only a handful of photographers allowed unfettered access to Ground Zero in the days after Sept. 11 – tracking down the subjects in many of her photos from that day, including a firefighter searching for the body of his best friend and a Franciscan friar ministering to the dead.

The centerpiece of History channel’s 9/11 programming is 9/11 The Days After (airing commercial-free Sept. 9, 9 p.m.), a follow-up to the net’s haunting documentary 102 Minutes That Changed America. The new film, also from husband and wife filmmakers Seth Skundrick and Nicole Rittenmeyer, is culled from hundreds of hours of amateur and professional video footage and examines the days immediately following the terrorist attacks. History will also rerun 102 Minutes in a global simulcast across A&E Networks Sept. 11 at 8:46 a.m. ET, the moment the first plane hit the North Tower. Additional History programs include: Voices From Inside the Towers (Sept. 10, 9 p.m.); and Making the 9/11 Memorial (Sept. 11, 8 p.m.). History.com will webcast the dedication of the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Penn., live Sept. 10 at History.com/Classroom.


National Geographic Channel updates its 2005 documentary Inside 9/11, which still stands as the network’s most-watched program with nearly 18 million viewers. Inside 9/11: The War Continues (Aug. 28, 9 p.m.) examines the ongoing war on terror including the killing of Osama bin Laden last May. Additional programming includes: George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview (Aug. 28, 10 p.m.) featuring the former president in his first wide-ranging interview about the events of that day; CIA Confidential: 9/11 Mastermind (Aug. 29, 10 p.m.), about Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM), the most notorious 9/11 figure after bin Laden; and 9/11: Where Were You? (Aug. 30, 10 p.m.), about the decisions made by rescue workers, an FAA official and others on that day.


PBS’ investigative program Frontline – which has already produced more than 45 hours on the attacks and America’s response to them – bows two new installments. Top Secret America (Sept. 6, 9 p.m.) examines the dark side of the “war on terror,” from the creation of black site prisons abroad, to targeted killings and the multi-billion dollar terrorism industrial complex. The Man Behind the Mosque (Sept. 13, 9 p.m.) profiles Sharif El-Gamal, the real estate developer spearheading the proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero. Additional 9/11 programming from the public broadcaster includes: NOVA: Engineering Ground Zero (Sept. 7, 9 p.m.), which follows the five-year construction of One World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum; NewsHour: American Remembers 9/11(Sept. 11, 8 p.m.), a special installment of the nightly broadcast covering the memorial observances at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Penn.; and Great Performances (Sept. 11, 9 p.m.), which will telecast the Sept. 10 New York Philharmonic Concert at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall marking the tenth anniversary of the attacks.

Email: Marisa.Guthrie@thr.com