An emotional resonance

Hearst Entertainment's new weekly series The Bravest
is aptly named. The series, which goes behind the scenes with real-life firefighters à la Cops, contains footage of 18 firefighters who died in the World Trade Center attacks.

Just months before, producers from the show had spent a week with New York City's top two rescue teams, Manhattan's Rescue One and Brooklyn's Rescue Two.

The Bravest
was set to debut in national syndication during the week of Sept. 24, with episodes featuring firehouses around the country. Producers scrambled to update the first few episodes and dedicated the season to those who lost their lives.

"We did a dedication piece in episode two that was really quite moving," says Hearst Entertainment's Rob Corona. "When you have these men saying on tape, 'We run into buildings when other people run out' and 'When you kiss your wife goodbye, you know it could be the last time you see her,' there is an incredible resonance."

The show attracted national media attention soon after Sept. 11.
Good Morning America, Today
and Entertainment Tonight
did feature stories on the behind-the-scenes footage and the moving stories. So far this season, the series has averaged a 1.3 national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Its most recent weekly ratings averaged 1.6—its best to date.

Hearst Entertainment executives are currently selling a second season. This season, the show, produced by National Entertainment, is cleared in 91% of the U.S., including WCBS-TV New York and KNBC-TV Los Angeles.

"We didn't just do a series about Sept. 11 and New York City. We did the show about a job that we thought would prove interesting," says Corona. "We've got a good show, a good lineup in place, and we think we are going to be able to find an audience in syndication."