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History Goes Back to 9/11 ‘Archives’ For Docu Look at ‘The Days After’

6/27/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

New York — As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist
attacks approaches, and cable entertainment
and news channels schedule special programming, a
History documentary that’s sure to be in
the spotlight got an early screening at a
unique setting last Thursday: the 10th
floor of 7 World Trade Center, overlooking
the construction efforts at Ground
Zero in lower Manhattan.

9/11 the Days After, still being edited
even as 20 minutes of clips were shown,
is from the producers who made 102 Minutes
That Changed America,
also for History.
That 2008 documentary by Nicole
Rittenmeyer and Seth Skundrick was the
network’s most highly viewed program
and won three Emmy awards.

The new 88-minute doc — which uses a
similar narration-free mix of news footage,
home videos and other material, including
official FEMA video — covers about eight
days after the terrorist attacks in New York,
Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

Susan Werbe, the program’s executive
producer for History, said the network
takes seriously its role as archivist of the extensive original
video made by thousands of individuals and organizations
in and around New York. As with 102 Minutes,
the aim of the new program is to “engage audiences with
an extremely intimate and experiential documentary.”

Rittenmeyer said she and Skundrick, her husband
and the project’s editor, used parts of
some 1,100 tapes, or 800 hours of material.
While they originally intended to span
the last decade, they realized they could
tell the story successfully using events of
the first week. The final program will also
include the Ground Zero celebrations after
the killing of Osama bin Laden, she
said.

Themes that emerge from “the minutiae”
seen in the film include how life
changed after 9/11; the “desperation” people
felt to help and to hope; the “threat and
tension” of those days; the bomb scares
and evacuations; and “closure, remembrance,
moving on, all those kinds of
things,” Rittenmeyer said.

History officials, who showed three
clips from the doc at a gathering of international
media assembled to discuss History’s
9/11 programming outside the U.S.,
said a firm air date has not yet been set.

HGTV’s Gorder:
‘Design Star’ Will
Shine This Summer

NEW YORK — HGTV had
its annual “Wine & Design”
cocktail party for
media and ad-buyers
here last Wednesday,
partly to show off new
talent like former Real
Housewives of New
Jersey cast member
and event planner Dina
Manzo
(whose Dina’s
Party debuts in September)
and designers
Robert and Cortney
Novogratz (whose Home
by Novogratz
, a Manhattan-
based design show,
kicks off July 16).

The Wire, though, was happy to meet HGTV mainstay
Genevieve Gorder, the New York-based designer star of
Dear Genevieve (Saturdays at 9 p.m.) and judge on HGTV
Design
Star (July 11). She helped remake entire towns for
TLC (Town Haul) before joining HGTV and has been a fixture
at local Time Warner Cable events, ably representing
Scripps Networks.

She said her work at the network in 2011 will include
international forays she was unable to disclose and the
remaking of her own home in Manhattan.

Gorder joined network chief Jim Samples in telling The
Wire that Design Star enjoyed a creative upturn this summer.
The “production team, story tellers and cast” all
really clicked, she said, and the winner is someone who’s
a perfect fit for HGTV. As is Gorder herself.

Mnet Makes Inroads
Into Dallas Market,
Via College Station

Independent networks have a tough go trying to get
widespread distribution on a very crowded cable television
dial, but upstart Asian American-themed channel
Mnet is going to school in an effort to get in front of
more eyeballs.

The network has found a home for several of its
primetime series on a television station run by the University
of North Texas
. Station manager Christian Yang
was looking for quality content to air on the Dallas-area
station, which reaches about 200,000 viewers, and
reached out to Mnet in an effort to secure some of its
ethnic-themed content. Recognizing an opportunity to
extend its reach into the No. 5 TV DMA — and reach college
students, who tend to be taste makers and early
adopters — the 8 million-subscriber network decided to
offer the channel free original content, such as its music
countdown show, Beats Per Mnet.

Mnet told The Wire it is aggressively seeking additional
relationships with other universities across the country,
although no deals have been signed.

Colbert to NU Grads:
You’ll Get the Bird
In Another Decade

Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert — the actor, not the
character — gave a June 17 commencement speech at
his alma mater, Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill.,
that was pithy and, of course, funny.

His speech,
which dutifully
included the words
“love,” “service”
and “sext,” made
many references
to his own time at
NU and included
a rare bit of selfdeprecation.

“In 1986, our
commencement
speaker was
George Schultz,
Secretary of State, fourth in line to the president,” he
said. “You get me — basic cable’s second-most-popular
fake newsman. At this rate, the class of 2021 will be addressed
by a zoo parrot in a mortar board that has been
trained to say, ‘Congratulations.’ ”

September