How Television Networks Will Commemorate the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The nation has continued to process the terrorist event over the past two decades in many ways, including through television specials, documentaries and dramatized retellings. On and before the anniversary, networks will air content unpacking the politics of the event, commemorating the victims, speaking with the survivors and more.

Read a full list of 9/11 programming below. (More programming will be added to the list as networks announce titles.)

“9/11: Inside The President’s War Room” (Apple TV Plus, currently streaming) – A new special telling the story of 9/11 from the perspective of President George W. Bush and his advisors and cabinet members, including Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell among others. Jeff Daniels narrates the film. Adam Wishart directs, with Simon Finch as creative producer, Neil Grant as executive producer and Serena Kennedy as head of production. The documentary will also be free to non-subscribers on Sept. 11. 

“9/11: One Day in America” (National Geographic and Hulu, currently streaming) – National Geographic, in collaboration with the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, produced a new docuseries that uses archival footage and new interviews from eyewitnesses to retell the story of the attacks. Though all episodes are streaming on Hulu, the series first premiered on Nat Geo on Aug. 29 and will re-air on the network on Sept. 10 and 11.

“Reporting 9/11 and Why It Still Matters” (Wondrium, currently streaming) – Allison Gilbert and Phil Hirschkorn, co-editors of the book “Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report September 11,” expand on their previous work as executive producers of a two-hour documentary that explores the perspectives and impact of journalists who covered 9/11 as it happened. 45 journalists are featured in the film, including Savannah Guthrie, Tom Brokaw, Scotty Pelley, Byron Pitts, Jane Clayson, Bob Pisani and more. The film was produced in collaboration with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.

“Ten Steps to Disaster: Twin Towers” (Smithsonian Channel, Sept. 6 at 9 p.m.) – The series premiere of “Ten Steps to Disaster” lays out 10 oversights or mistakes within the government that led toward the Sept. 11 attacks using interviews and declassified documents.

“Stories from the Stage: Changed Forever 9/11” (World Channel, Sept. 6 at 9:30 p.m.) – Season 5 of “Stories from the Stage” will premiere with a special following three people’s experiences of 9/11: Journalist David Filipov, who lost his father in the attacks; psychology professor Michael Sargent, who confronted his own prejudices flying on a plane a few days after the attacks; and therapist Jude Treder-Wolff, who supported 9/11 survivors, first responders and victims’ loved ones.

“The Missing Evidence: 9/11 Secret Explosions in the Towers” (Smithsonian Channel, Sept. 6 at 10 p.m.) – This episode of “The Missing Evidence,” which looks for holes in the stories of historic mysteries, investigates a theory that a sprinkler system may have been responsible for the physical collapse of the Twin Towers.

“Frontline: America After 9/11” (PBS, Sept. 7 at 9 p.m.) – “Frontline” filmmaker Michael Kirk examines the U.S. response to 9/11 and consequences throughout the following presidential administrations, up through the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“Air Disasters: The Pentagon Attack” (Smithsonian Channel, Sept. 7 at 10 p.m.) – Witness accounts, interviews with investigators and reenactments are used to examine the attack on the Pentagon and how it altered air travel today.

“Memory Box: Echoes of 9/11” (MSNBC and Peacock, Sept. 8 at 10 p.m.) – 9/11 eyewitnesses share their testimonies in a small video booth in the months following the attacks, then come back after 20 years to reflect. David Belton and Bjørn Johnson direct, with Hugo Godwin and Elizabeth Fischer producing and Rashida Jones, Amanda Spain, Noah Oppenheim, Liz Cole, Elizabeth Fischer and Molly O’Brien executive producing.

“Crowning New York” (Smithsonian Channel, Sept. 8 at 10 p.m.) – A documentary chronicling the decision-making and dangerous construction behind One World Trade Center, the main building that replaced the pit where the Twin Towers once stood.

“First Ladies Revealed: In Times of War” (Smithsonian Channel, Sept. 9 at 10 p.m.) An exploration of the impact that first ladies have had during wartime, including Laura Bush’s role in post 9/11 America.

“The Hunt for Bin Laden” (Smithsonian Channel, Sept. 10 at 9 p.m.) – Former White House counter-terrorism advisor Richard A. Clarke, former director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center Cofer Black, several FBI agents and others are featured in this documentary about the 20 year search for Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, who was assassinated in 2011.

“Come From Away” (Apple TV Plus, Sept. 10) – “Come From Away” follows the lives of 7,000 people stranded in the small town of Canada’s Gander after all flights were grounded following the 9/11 attacks. The Newfoundland community welcomed stranded passengers, who were struggling to process what happened while also finding love, laughter and new hope. This filmed version of the stage show was produced during the pandemic, directed by Chrisopher Ashley and written by Irene Sankoff and David Hein. Producers are Jennifer Todd, Bill Condon, Nick Meyer and Mark Gordon with Laurel Thomson, Irene Sankoff, David Hein, Meredith Bennett, Jon Kamen and Dave Sirulnick serving as executive producers.

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