Apple TV+ today announced a new documentary special airing later this year. The show is entitled ‘9/11: Inside the President’s War Room’ and will explore the 2001 terrorist attack from the perspective of the immediate response of the people in charge.
The special will be narrated by Jeff Daniels and include testimony from ex-President George Bush, Dick Cheney, and more. In a notable move for the streaming service, the special will premiere simultaneously on Apple TV+ and on the publicly-funded broadcast channel BBC One.
As you might expect, the special will air in September in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. In the UK, the special will first be broadcast on BBC One and appear on Apple TV+ later. In all other regions, it will debut on Apple TV+ exclusively.
Apple says the show will recount the immediate aftermath of the attack, recounting the emergency decision making in the first 12 hours after the planes hit the World Trade Center.
It will feature interviews with high-profile members of the administration and heads of national security at the time.
The documentary special will feature never-before-heard testimony with President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice (national security advisor), Colin Powell (secretary of state), Andy Card (chief of staff), Dan Bartlett (director of communications), Rear Admiral Deborah Loewer (head of Situation Room), Josh Bolten (deputy chief of staff), Ari Fleischer (press secretary), Karl Rove (senior advisor to the president), Mary Matalin (advisor to Cheney), Karen Hughes (special advisor to the president), Mike Morrell (CIA briefer), Ted Olson (solicitor general), Colonel Mark Tillman (Air Force One pilot), David Wilkinson and Tony Zotto (Secret Service). It will also feature nearly 200 never previously published photographs, as photographers followed every move of Bush and Cheney that day, as well as filmed archive.
Apple has previously worked with BBC Studios, the BBC’s commercial arm, to create content exclusively for Apple TV+ including David Attenborough documentary special ‘The Year Earth Changed’ and comedy series ‘Trying’.
However, this 9/11 special appears to be Apple’s first formal co-production. This means the content was funded by both Apple and the BBC, and that is why it will be released both on Apple’s streaming platform and on the BBC One channel.
In 2019, Apple’s head of European video content Jay Hunt told the UK’s House of Lords that Apple was open to all sorts of models, including co-productions, during a committee board discussing the relevance of public broadcasters (namely, the BBC) in the age of streaming. That being said, to date, Apple has mostly relied on fully funding exclusive originals.
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