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Networks Planning Sept. 11 Observations


NEW YORK — NBC plans a prime-time concert to mark the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, while its two chief rivals are sticking with news coverage that night.

First Lady Laura Bush will be on NBC's "Concert for America" at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She said she hopes it "will allow us to use the arts to soothe our emotions."

For the past few months, television network executives have been wrestling with what tone to set for their Sept. 11 coverage and how extensive it should be, trying to anticipate the public's desire to reflect.

"My own strong impression is there has been a drifting away emotionally and intellectually" from the events of Sept. 11, NBC News' Tom Brokaw said.

NBC hopes, with its news coverage, to remind people of what the country went through and tell what's been learned since then, he said.

ABC, CBS and NBC all will air expanded editions of their morning news shows that day to cover planned commemorations. Many of those are timed to coincide with what happened exactly a year ago; the first plane hit the World Trade Center at 8:48 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

From there, the network plans diverge. ABC News will stay in continuous coverage through prime time, with breaks for local news. NBC will also show news that afternoon, including a town meeting-format interview featuring Brokaw and rescue workers, survivors and family members.

CBS hasn't set its afternoon plans, in part because it's still trying to gauge the level of interest among the public and its affiliates. The network will turn its prime-time schedule over to its newsmagazines, "60 Minutes" and "60 Minutes II," for Sept. 11-related programming, CBS News spokeswoman Sandra Genelius said.

CBS will also rerun its two-hour "9-11" documentary featuring footage from inside the World Trade Center on Sept. 8. Fox will air a two-hour prime-time special, "The Day America Changed," on Sept. 11.

ABC's prime-time news coverage will feature a reconstruction of events within the World Trade Center, the network said.

Brokaw said NBC was approached by the Kennedy Center about a concert, and the network thought the music would be "an important and necessary ingredient" to the coverage.

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