ABC's 'Path to 9/11' to Air With Limited Ads

Two-Part Miniseries With Harvey Keitel Is Based on Commission's Report

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PASADENA, Calif. ( -- ABC will air the two-part miniseries "Path to 9/11" with limited commercial interruption starting Sept. 10. The series concludes the following night, the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks. An ABC spokeswoman said that show may air with a title sponsor, but if it doesn't, only a handful of breaks will be slotted. The number and length of breaks has not yet been defined.
Harvey Keitel
Harvey Keitel Credit: ABC

Pet project
The miniseries, starring Harvey Keitel and Patricia Heaton, was a pet project of ABC entertainment president Steve McPherson, who sought out a producer after reading the "9/11 Commission Report" from the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

The dramatization, which garnered much talk among media-agency executives after network development meetings in March, follows the actions of government officials including Richard Clarke, at the time a counter-terrorism adviser to the National Security Council, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney, former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger and then CIA Director George Tenet and their involvement in the manhunt for Islamic terrorists.

The production doesn't single out or blame any specific person for neglecting to prevent the attacks, but shows how the ball was dropped at every stage.

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States -- known as the 9/11 Commission -- was an independent, bipartisan panel created by Congress and President George W. Bush in late 2002 to prepare a report on the circumstances surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. The group's report was released July 22, 2004, on a government website but also as a book, which was sold in bookstores and went on to become a best-seller.

Gov. Kean joins press tour
Former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, who headed the 9/11 Commission, was present at the Television Critics Association press tour July 19 to talk about his involvement as a consultant on the show. In answer to a question, Mr. Kean said producers immediately put things right if he suggested changes or said things didn't feel right. The producers also worked with consultants from the CIA, FBI, Secret Service and the White House to ensure accuracy.

In an opening statement at the event, Mr. Kean said: "What we found in that report as we told our story was 19 people who came into this country to do us harm, and our U.S. government failed in every way to stop or even slow down the plot at any stage." When asked if there is any educational component to the show, Marc Platt, one of the producers, said they were working with ABC News to create a website.
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