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CBS To Re-Air 9/11 Doc

CBS plans to re-air the riveting 9/11 documentary it aired on the six-month and one-year anniversaries of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Despite the dicey FCC climate for language--there are some profanities in the program--a CBS source says the network never entertained bleeping out the cussing and doesn't expect to have any problems with the FCC.

The critically acclaimed special attracted an average 39 million viewers—more than a third of all TV sets turned on during the two hours when it debuted Sunday, March 10, 2002—with higher proportions in the cities most closely tied to the Sept. 11 disasters: New York, Boston and Washington. It was the most-watched non-sports program of the season to that time. CBS produced it along with filmmaker brothers Jules and Gedeon Naudet.

The FCC has cracked down on profanity, but says it depends on context and is not de facto indecent. It found that its use by pretend soldiers in Saving Private Ryan was not indecent.

It will air Sept. 10, Sunday, 8-10 with a language warning at the top with an audio and visual--it also had a warning for its other airings--and Robert DeNiro, in an updated opening, will reference the sensitive subject matter and graphic language.

The filmmakers, brothers Jules and Gedeon Naudet, had been working all summer on a profile of a probationary fireman stationed at a firehouse just blocks from the World Trade Center. Their footage contains film of the first hijacked plane striking Tower 1 and the only known images from inside Tower 1 on that morning.
For its debut, the show contained no traditional commercials but had three breaks, underwritten by Nextel, that contained public-service announcements relating to the Sept. 11 tragedy, including fund-raising pitches.Nextel also underwrote the commercial-free re-airing.

At press time, CBS was still talking to advertisers about this, its third outing.