15 Years Later: U.S. networks remember 9/11

Realscreen looks at the special programming set to air on various networks to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States.
August 31, 2016

American broadcasters Smithsonian Channel, PBS and American Heroes Channel are preparing to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense.

The scheduling efforts follow a wave of recent announcements made by American networks who have arranged commemorative 9/11 programming, including History, CNN and National Geographic Channel.


U.S. pubcaster PBS will mark the occasion with an hour-long documentary set to reveal the little-known stories on the Pentagon attack.

Produced by Lone Wolf Media, 9/11 Inside the Pentagon will feature first-hand accounts from Pentagon personnel, first responders, aviation experts and journalists to recount the attack that took the lives of 184 people when American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Arlington County, Virginia building. The doc will also offer rarely seen Department of Defense footage taken from inside the Pentagon shortly after the attack. The film is slated to air Sept. 6 at 8 p.m. EST/PST.

Smithsonian Channel

Elsewhere, Smithsonian Channel will pay tribute to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a special day of commemorative programming on Sept. 11.

The marathon will kick off at 2 p.m. EST/PST with the critically acclaimed documentary 9/11: Day That Changed the World. Narrated by Martin Sheen, the two-hour film provides an in-depth look into how the nation’s key decision makers responded in the face of chaos and uncertainty. The film features exclusive interviews with Laura Bush, Dick and Lynne Cheney, Rudy Giuliani and Donald Rumsfeld, among others.

Throughout the day, Smithsonian will also broadcast the hour-long special Crowning New York (4 p.m. EST/PST), which looks at the construction of New York’s symbol of hope, One World Trade Center; The Missing Evidence: 9/11 Secret Explosions in the Towers (5 p.m. EST/PST), which looks to scientifically tackle enduring conspiracy theories about the collapse of the North and South towers; 9/11: Stories in Fragments (6 p.m. EST/PST), revealing the stories behind iconic objects in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History’s 9/11 collection; 9/11: The Heartland Tapes (7 p.m. EST/PST), which stitches together news coverage and media from across the nation to bear witness and uncover tales of survival without narration or interviews; and finally, Aerial America: New York (10 p.m. EST/PST), which will reveal the stories of New York City from above.

 American Heroes Channel

Finally, Discovery Communications-owned network American Heroes Channel (AHC) has teamed with ABC News’ Lincoln Square Productions to revisit the events of Sept. 11 with the premieres of two documentaries.

Premiering Sept. 6 at 10 p.m. EST/PST, 9/11: As We Watched recounts the attacks as they unfolded through the watchful eye of ABC News and legendary news anchors Peter Jennings, Diane Sawyer, George Stephanopoulos and other journalists. The news network would provide 83 hours of live coverage and offer first-hand accounts of the first plane hitting, the attack on the Pentagon while revealing the story of the 19 hijackers.

Capturing Bin Laden, meanwhile, will debut 24 hours later on Sept. 7 at 10 p.m. EST/PST and utilizes archive footage to track the rise and fall of al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden, from a shadowy figure financing terrorist attacks to his death in Pakistan at the hands of SEAL Team Six. The film also features in-depth interviews with ABC News’ chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz and former ABC News correspondent John Miller, currently deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism at the New York City Police Department.

Both films are exec produced by Lincoln Square’s Brook Porter and Lee Hoffman alongside AHC’s Max Culhane.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.