NBC, ABC plan rival 9/11 miniseries. Both docudramas are inspired by the 9/11 commission report and would trace events leading up to the attacks

By Gary Susman
Updated October 28, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

NBC and ABC are both rushing to produce longform TV projects based on the year’s most unlikely bestseller. That would be The 9/11 Commission Report, the official government account of the security failures that led up to the terrorist attacks. Since the book is in the public domain, both networks are free to adapt it, though NBC may make it out of the gate first. The network announced Wednesday that its project will be a miniseries written and produced by Graham Yost, who won an Emmy for similar duties on HBO’s miniseries From the Earth to the Moon. (Yost also wrote Speed, so he knows how to write about bombers terrorizing civilians.) Yost’s miniseries would focus on the events leading up to the attacks, as well as the individual acts of heroism that followed. ABC has yet to announce the details of its project, but Variety reports that the network has been shopping a project based on The 9/11 Report to producers, with the hope of making a miniseries or an epic-minded single TV movie along the lines of And the Band Played On, the HBO movie that detailed the early years of the AIDS epidemic in America. According to Variety, the network could announce the details of its 9/11 production within days. As for CBS, it’s content to stick with fictional disasters; next month, it airs the two-part miniseries Category 6: Day of Destruction, about a Perfect Storm-type weather event that threatens to kill millions in the Chicago area. Where’s Al Roker when you need him?