NATIONWIDE — Cable television networks and streaming services will mark the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks with new documentaries and hours of special programming. Filmmakers promise to share never-before-seen images, footage and interviews as they try to shed new light on the deadliest attacks on U.S. soil that claimed almost 3,000 lives and forever changed life as we know it.
Here are some of the upcoming special programs and airdates:
In the Shadow of 9/11 — The PBS series, Frontline, will air and stream the latest documentary from director Dan Reed. It explores how investigators accused a group of Black men from Miami of plotting with al Qaeda to blow up U.S. buildings and how authorities were desperately trying to hunt down the “enemy within.” (PBS; Streaming on PBS app)
America After 9/11 — The second offering from Frontline “traces the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks and devastating consequences across three presidencies,” according to a press release. The documentary draws on new interviews and others that filmmaker Michael Kirk conducted after the terror attacks. The special, and a library of other Frontline documentaries, will also be available for streaming after the initial airing on PBS. (Sept. 7, PBS; Streaming on PBS app)
“Generation 9/11” — The film highlights the stories of an entire generation of children who were shaped by the tragedy. The mood of the country – what filmmakers described as “patriotism that morphed into suspicion and Islamophobia” – dominated their early childhoods. (Aug. 31, PBS; Streaming on PBS app)
9/11: One Day in America — This six-part documentary series from National Geographic “chronicles the events of that day – at times, minute-by-minute – through gripping first person narratives of the first responders and survivors who were there,” a release describes. Developed and executive produced by 72 Films, the documentary is the culmination of 951 hours of archival footage, some of which filmmakers said has never been seen before.
“We all remember exactly where we were on Sept. 11, 2001. Amidst the tragedy, chaos and sadness, what we also remember are the incredible feats of heroism, selflessness and humanity on display that day,” said Courteney Monroe, president, National Geographic Content. “With this series, we aim to immortalize these stories and continue National Geographic’s legacy of authentic, powerful storytelling that provides deeper meaning around important historical events.” (National Geographic; Hulu)
Cable News Network plans to commemorate 9/11 with several hours of special programs starting Sept. 5. Here are a couple of highlights:
CNN Films Presents: 9/11 — The special, directed, filmed, and executive produced by Gédéon and Jules Naudet, brothers and filmmakers, and retired Manhattan firefighter James Hanlon, chronicles the attacks on the World Trade Center minute-by-minute. The brothers documented some of the rescue efforts that day, including the training of a rookie firefighter. According to CNN, “9/11 also explores where some of those rescuers are today and introduces viewers to some of the children and other loved ones of fallen firefighters, many of whom have become firefighters themselves.” (Sept. 5, 8 p.m. ET, CNN; Streaming on CNNgo)
CNN Special Report: America’s Longest War: What Went Wrong in Afghanistan — The 9/11 attacks led to the War in Afghanistan, and CNN anchor Jake Tapper hosts a new two-hour special looking back at the conflict that killed more than 2,400 U.S. service members. Tapper sits down with top U.S. commanders who spanned four presidential administrations, including Gens. Stanley McChrystal, David Petraeus, John Allen, David McKiernan, Dan McNeill, Karl Eikenberry and Lt. Gen. David Barno. “The generals, no longer in uniform, are ready to talk and speak candidly with Tapper about the withdrawal, what they believe really went wrong in Afghanistan, and whether it was all worth it,” a CNN release said. (Sept. 12, CNN; Streaming on CNNgo)
CNN Special Report: Front Row to History: The 9/11 Classroom — CNN revisits the young adults who were second-grade students in the Florida classroom when President George W. Bush got word of the planes hitting the World Trade Center (as seen in the photo above). Victor Blackwell speaks with some of the students and their teacher. (CNN, Sept. 5; Streaming on CNNgo)
9/11: Inside the President’s War Room — A joint effort by Apple TV+ and the BBC, this new documentary details the story of 9/11 through the eyes of the U.S. presidency and recounts the 12 hours after the terrorist attacks. Narrated by Emmy-Award winner Jeff Daniels, the program features never-before-heard accounts from then leaders President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell. The streamer said the documentary offers a “rare and unique insight into the dilemmas of decision-making against the clock, as those involved provide intimate, revealing and heartfelt details for the first time.” (Sept. 1, Apple TV+)
Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror — Netflix has unveiled a five-part docuseries that shares personal stories of how the terror attacks changed the course of the nation. “This unflinching series documents the 9/11 terrorist attacks, from al-Qaeda’s roots in the 1980s to America’s forceful response, both at home and abroad,” said the streaming service. (Netflix)
The History Channel lives up to its name with seven hours of documentary programming commemorating the anniversary of 9/11.
9/11: The Legacy — The one-hour documentary looks at the impact of the terror attacks on children and how, now as young adults, the attacks forever altered their lives. “Viewers will hear the raw, emotional and harrowing details of that day from some of the students in attendance at the High School for Leadership and Public Service in Manhattan and their brave principal, Ada Rosario Dolch and English teacher Heather Ordover who ultimately led all 550 students to safety,” said a network press release. (History Channel, Sept. 10, 7 p.m. ET/PT)
Rise and Fall: The World Trade Center — This special report recounts the conception, construction and ultimately destruction of the World Trade Center. Built as a symbol of American strength, the towers ultimately fell after terrorists flew airliners into them. The two-hour documentary also revisits the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. (History Channel, Sept. 10, 8 p.m. ET/PT)
9/11: Four Flights — The bravery of passengers, flight attendants, crew and air traffic controllers is detailed in this two-hour documentary that looks back on four doomed flights – American 11, United 175, American 77, and United 93 – that took off the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. (History Channel, Sept. 11, 8 p.m. ET/PT)
9/11: I Was There — The video diaries of more than a dozen people captured on cellphones make up this two-hour documentary that offers first-person perspectives – without narration or commentary – to provide an account of the day that changed the world forever. The vérité-style special “puts viewers in the shoes of New Yorkers and visitors alike to unfold the tragedy, the fear of what was next and the horrific aftermath to follow resulting in a raw and unfiltered telling of 9/11 from confusion to comprehension, terror and relief,” said the network. (History Channel, Sept. 11, 10 p.m. ET/PT)
Lost Calls of 9/11 — A Houston man purchased a piece of used computer equipment that, unbeknownst to him, contained 103 calls from a trading room floor across the street from the World Trade Center on 9/11. Anchor Bill Hemmer will host the one-hour special. (Fox News Channel, Sept. 5, 10 p.m. ET; Streaming on Fox Nation)