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Countdown to 9/11 anniversary

'Engineering Ground Zero'

"Engineering Ground Zero"

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Updated: November 16, 2011 1:52AM

NEW YORK — Television viewers who want to immerse themselves in memories of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as the 10th anniversary approaches will have a staggering number of choices.

There will be dozens of specials covering the events from every conceivable angle. Many are from networks that either didn’t exist back in 2001, didn’t have the capacity to cover the tragedy live or weren’t aggressively making as much original programming.

Chances are that the 10th will end up being the biggest anniversary in terms of media attention: 9/11 is still relatively fresh in the minds of those who experienced it, yet time has also offered more perspective.

“It was a transformative event,” said Mark Burstein, executive producer of special events coverage for ABC News. “This was an event that everyone who was over the age of 10 remembers where they were on this day. It changed millions of lives. I’m not surprised that 10 years later the world will stop and look back and remember.”

In the days after the attacks, the president of ABC News, on the advice of a prominent child psychologist, ordered his news division to strictly curtail reruns of the more disturbing images: the second plane crashing into the World Trade Center; the collapse of the towers. The concern was that children couldn’t process that they were reruns and might think the tragedy was happening again elsewhere. Other news divisions largely followed suit.

Because of that judicious usage, people have not become desensitized to the pictures from that awful day, said Jay Wallace, Fox News Channel vice president of news.

On the anniversary each year, Fox replays a segment of its coverage from the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, and will again this year. Wallace said it was important to remind people what it was like.

“We put that away,” he said. “We don’t use it as b-roll [background pictures] any other time of year. But we try to put that in context and remind people of what went on that day, the raw emotions that people were feeling.”

Here’s an outline of scheduled programming leading up to Sept. 11 memorial coverage. Several of the telecasts will be shown repeatedly.


“Heroes of the 88th Floor,” TLC: Focusing on rescue effort at Port Authority offices on the 88th floor of the north World Trade Center tower.


“9/11: Day That Changed the World,” Smithsonian Channel: Documentary that tells inside story of Sept. 11 with interviews with Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Rumsfeld, Laura Bush, Andrew Card and others.

“Children of 9/11,” NBC: Documentary following children who lost a parent on Sept. 11.


“Frontline: Top Secret America,” PBS: Journalist Dana Priest examines how a decade of fighting terrorism has changed the country.


“Terror in the Dust,” CNN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses health concerns of people who spent time at Ground Zero.

“American Greed: 9/11 Fraud,” CNBC: About the lengths people go to steal money at a time of tragedy.

“Engineering Ground Zero,” PBS: About construction at the World Trade Center site.

“Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero,” PBS: Rerun of “Frontline” report about how the attacks affected religious faith.


“Beyond Bravery: The Women of 9/11,” CNN: Female rescue teams at the World Trade Center.


“9/11: Timeline of Terror,” Fox News Channel: Shows how the events of Sept. 11 happened in real time.

“Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resi­lience,” CNN: The stories of 40 people who led and sacrificed in the hours after the attacks.

“Dateline NBC,” NBC: Two-hour special with NBC anchor Tom Brokaw revisiting people he interviewed a decade earlier.

“9/11: The Days After,” History: Documenting the aftermath of the attacks.

“Voices From Inside the Towers,” History: Stories about people trapped in the World Trade Center, using audio records.


“On Native Soil,” MSNBC: Documentary narrated by Kevin Costner and Hilary Swank about the 9/11 Commission.

Sept. 11

“9/11: 10 Years Later,” CBS: Rerun of insider’s account at World Trade Center, freshened with new interviews. Robert De Niro returns as host.

“America Remembers: 9/11,” PBS: The “NewsHour” team examinines the impact of Sept. 11 in different communities.

“The New York Philharmonic 10th Anniversary Concert for 9/11,” PBS: Performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2.

“Remembrance and Renewal: Ten Years After the 9/11 Attacks,” ABC: Updates on some of the day’s most moving stories.

“The Making of the 9/11 Memorial,” History: Behind-the-scenes view of the memorial from idea to construction.

“102 Minutes That Changed America,” History: Rerun of documentary, starting at precise anniversary of when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.

“The Space Between,” USA: Film with actress Melissa Leo portraying a stewardess on a plane grounded on 9/11 who travels across the country with a 10-year-old boy whose father worked at the World Trade Center.

“Twin Towers,” USA: Academy Award-winning documentary about brothers, a New York City police officer and firefighter, killed on Sept. 11.

“Rebirth,” Showtime: Documentary tracks the lives of five people whose lives were changed by Sept. 11 and uses time-lapse photography to show how Ground Zero has changed.


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