CNN Plans 4 Documentaries to Mark 9/11 Anniversary

By Merrill Knox 

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 just under a month away, CNN has announced programming plans for four documentaries commemorating the attacks.

The four documentaries will each be an hour long and will air in the week leading up to 9/11 on CNN, beginning with “Footnotes of 9/11,” which will feature investigative correspondent Drew Griffin profiling eight people who provided details for  footnotes of the 9/11 Commission Report. CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta will host “Terror in the Dust,” an examination of the health effects on first responders, and correspondent Soledad O’Brien will host “Beyond Bravery: The Women of 9/11.”

The last in the series will be “Beyond 9/11: Portraits in Resilience,” presented by TIME in collaboration with HBO. It features the untold 9/11 recollections and stories from 40 people.

The full press release from CNN is after the jump.

CNN to Debut Four Original Documentaries Marking 9/11 Anniversary

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Soledad O’Brien, Drew Griffin and TIME/HBO Presentation Report: 9/11 Ten Years Later

During the week leading up to the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, CNN will premiere four one-hour productions on its domestic network.  In investigations led by chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, investigative correspondent Drew Griffin, and anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien, CNN is reporting new insights into the health consequences experienced by the first responders working at New York’s Ground Zero, examining the events of that day through the eyes of people who were on the front lines of one of America’s most tragic days, and profiling several unsung heroines who saved lives on that day.  A fourth presentation from TIME in association with HBO features a collection of TIME magazine oral histories from people who experienced the events of that day as they unfolded, and their reflections as the nation reacted in the days, months, and years afterwards.

“It was a day that changed us all and CNN is leveraging its unmatched resources to cover remembrances from around the nation and the world as we look back on 9/11 and what it means a decade later,” says Bart Feder, senior vice president of programming for CNN.  “In addition, these documentaries tell stories we feel will evoke pride in the heroism and bravery of the Americans who risked their lives, and some who sacrificed themselves on that day to save others.  And, they present an opportunity to remember the difficult work of first responders – and our servicemen and women on the front lines overseas – who continue to try to keep this nation safe each day.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 11:00pm (replay on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 8:00pm), CNN will debut FOOTNOTES OF 9/11, featuring interviews with people who went to work on Sept. 11, 2001 – and unexpectedly became part of history.  Each of the eight people profiled by investigative correspondent Drew Griffin for this documentary is mentioned in The 9/11 Commission Report – their unique experiences are drawn from the 1,742 footnotes of that report and offer critical detail to the tragic events of that day – are literal and figurative footnotes to one of America’s darkest days.  They include ticket agents who checked in some of the terrorists, a maintenance technician who answered a call from one of the planes under attack, and the Lt. Col. in the Massachusetts Air National Guard – also a United Airlines pilot – who scrambled to provide defense to New York, and faced possibly having to shoot down a passenger plane.

On Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 11:00pm (replay on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 9:00pm), DR. SANJAY GUPTA REPORTS: TERROR IN THE DUST, will examine how responders who breathed in the toxic dust and noxious fumes at New York City’s Ground Zero are coping with the health effects of the attacks.  The environmental hazards at the World Trade Center disaster site – mercury from fluorescent light bulbs, dioxin and benzene emitted as the jets burned, asbestos from the building materials, and more – have caused severe respiratory ailments, immune problems and, some suspect, a greatly increased cancer risk.  Among those who speak to Dr. Gupta are two brothers – firefighters who searched for survivors in the pile of the collapsed towers – one whose lungs are now failing and the other who appears to have had no permanent physical effects.  Ten years after the attacks chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta speaks to first responders who continue to experience emotional trauma.  Dr. Gupta’s investigation includes never before broadcast footage of the collapse of the Twin Towers, the medical consequences of the killer dust, and safety recommendations for future crisis responses.

BEYOND BRAVERY: THE WOMEN OF 9/11 will air on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 11:00pm (replay on Sunday, Sept. 11 at 9:00pm), and profiles the sometimes overlooked female rescue workers who raced to the Twin Towers in the wake of the attack.  Anchor and special correspondent Soledad O’Brien looks at the work of these rescue workers over the decade following their life-altering experiences.  Among the stories of these heroic women of New York’s Ground Zero is an African-American firefighter whose company lost seven of the 342 firefighters who died that day.  She is pushing to recruit more women to this dangerous job, even as the number of female firefighters has dropped to less than one percent of the NYFD.  O’Brien also speaks with the family of a decorated police officer and mother who was photographed rescuing survivors just moments before the collapse of the towers.  O’Brien reports the present-day health and emotional struggles of these unsung heroines and hears about their determination to be prepared for the next attack – and to restore hope.

On Friday, Sept. 9 at 11:00pm (with replays on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8:00pm and 11:00pm), CNN will premiere a special presentation from TIME in association with HBO, BEYOND 9/11: PORTRAITS OF RESILIENCE.  Captured in words and moving images, this documentary features untold stories drawn from 40 women and men who led and sacrificed for America in the hours, days, and months that followed the attacks.  Working with the editors of TIME, award-winning photographer Marco Grob produced an astonishing set of portraits which are coupled with dramatic recollections from government leaders, survivors of the towers, and first responders.

Kathleen Johnston, Brian Rokus, and Bud Bultman produced FOOTNOTES of 9/11, Stephanie Smith and Roni Selig produced TERROR IN THE DUST, and Rose Arce and Geraldine Moriba produced BEYOND BRAVERY.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively-syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.