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9/11: TV News Coverage Guide for the 15-Year Anniversary of the Terror Attacks

TheWrap details everything from award-winning documentaries to re-broadcasting footage from 2001

This Sunday marks the 15-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks and TV news organizations are ready to go all-in with coverage remembering the tragic morning.

As well as being the worst terrorist attack in world history, the events of 9/11 are regarded as one of the biggest news stories in the history of television, as millions of viewers watched the tragedy live as the devastation unfolded. The attack on America has spawned numerous documentaries, specials and TV tributes that continue to grab our attention 15 years later, while new content is still produced around the anniversary on a yearly basis.

If you’re looking to pay homage to the victims or educate yourself or simply need a Patriotic break from football, see TheWrap’s programing guide below.

CNN acquired the 2002 Peabody and Emmy Award-winning documentary “9/11” and updated it for the anniversary. The new version, “9/11: Fifteen Years Later,” will debut on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, with an encore showing at 11 p.m. ET.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, firefighter James Hanlon shot footage alongside two French filmmakers for what was supposed to be a documentary about a probationary firefighter. Their camera panned to capture something in the sky that seemed impossible.

What they saw from the Duane Street firehouse was American Airlines Flight 11 hitting Tower One of the World Trade Center. Their footage aired on CNN that night, quickly gaining comparisons to the Zapruder film, which captured the assignation of JFK on home-movie camera. Hanlon and the brothers, Gédéon and Jules Naudet, used the images as the basis for the original “9/11” documentary.

The updated version features a new introduction from “Rescue Me” star Dennis Leary, an old friend of Hanlon’s who is a longtime support of firefighters.

CNN’s coverage of the anniversary got off to a head start when Brooke Baldwin conducted a three-part town hall, “Coming of Age in the Age of Terror,” which has aired on CNN Newsroom throughout the week.

The series includes interviews with children of 9/11 victims, examines how they remember their parents and looks at the role terrorism plays in the current presidential election.

Additionally, Aaron Brown, who anchored CNN’s coverage on Sept. 11, 2001, will join Brian Stelter on Sunday’s edition of “Reliable Sources.”

Fox News
Weekday “Fox & Friends” co-hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade will kick off coverage at 6 a.m. ET with the yearly “Flashback 9/11: As It Happened” and will hold a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. ET when the first plane hit.

Jon Scott will present a two-hour “9/11: 15 Years Later” at 10 a.m. ET. Howard Kurtz will host a special “MediaBuzz” at 5 p.m. followed by Harris Faulkner hosting “Fox Report Sunday” at 7 p.m. to bring viewers into primetime.

Bret Baier’s new Sunday political show debuts at 8 p.m. and is followed by “Fox News Reporting:  9/11: Timeline of Terror” at 9 pm. ET. The special offers a timeline for the events that took place in 2001 without a host or moderators. The story is told using “real time” sources from events of 9/11 and features interviews with both survivors and rescuers from the World Trade Center and Pentagon as well as the relatives of those on United Airlines Flight 93.

Additional interviews detail the movements of President Bush that day, including with the White House Press Secretary Ari Fleisher who was in Florida with the President, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who were in the White House. New York correspondent Rick Leventhal will be in downtown NYC throughout the day to report for Fox News as needed.

MSNBC is getting a start on Saturday, with “As It Happened” at 10 p.m. ET. The special offers two hours, with limited editing, of the events of Sept. 11, unfolding as they did 10 years ago live on NBC. At midnight, “In Our Own Words” features NBC anchors and correspondents sharing their memories of the tragic morning. The special aims to cover the first several hours as the terrorist attacks on America unfolded.

“On Native Soil,” the documentary of the 9/11 Commission Report will be shown at 1 a.m. ET. The documentary captures the content of the Commission’s report, revealing its strengths and weaknesses, while exposing provocative, explosive and emotional new details, including interviews with witnesses who testified for the Commission.

The “Today” show will air a special episode from 8:53 a.m. ET through 12:01 p.m. on MSNBC.

“Ground Zero Rising: Freedom vs. Fear” will air at 10 p.m. ET. The doc features Jim Cramer telling the story of the redevelopment of the 16-acre site for the tragedy in New York City, complete with the memorial pools, a new park, transportation hub, and new office towers. Soaring above it all is One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere at 1776 feet high, and at a cost of $4 billion, the most expensive skyscraper ever built. CNBC cameras get exclusive access inside the new security command center at the complex, and viewers hear a threat assessment from a former FBI Special Agent who helped lead the agency’s New York City anti-terrorism task force following 9/11.

On “Sunday Today with Willie Geist,” in addition to Ground Zero remembrances, Willie Geist will reconnect with his hometown neighbors who lost a loved one on 9/11. Stephanie Gosk will also speak to children and family members of 9/11 first responders who are now NYPD and FDNY officers.

“Meet the Press” will have a special 9/11 episode featuring Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Paul Wolfowitz, who was the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush. Tom Brokaw, New York Times columnist David Brooks, NPR’s Audie Cornish and former President Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter will participate in a roundtable discussion.

Rehema Ellis will report for “NBC Nightly News.”

Correspondent David Wright will report from Ground Zero and chief anchor George Stephanopoulos host special reports throughout the day. Contributor Ray Kelly will provide additional coverage.

“CBS Sunday Morning” will have a piece reported by Martha Teichner looking at the anniversary. She’s talked to people such as Lee Ielpi, a retired firefighter, whose son Jonathan, a firefighter, was killed in the South Tower; and Judith Dupre, who has spent more than 20 years documenting the World Trade Center site and has written a book about its post 9/11 transformation and others.

“Face the Nation” will feature an interview with CIA director John Brennan and a panel discussion covering national security. “FTN” also plans to run montage of how the anniversary is being marked in each location.

“CBS This Morning” started the network’s coverage early, with a story on 9/11 responders battling health issues.

This coverage guide will be updated as additional information becomes available.