The morning of Sept. 11 remains a nightmare for every American who watched the coverage yesterday of hijacked planes devastating the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington play again and again on their television screens.
Many broadcast and cable networks focused all their programming on the terrorist attacks, and all of the major networks--ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox--canceled their regular lineups to cover the tragedy.
Non-news cable channels such as Home & Garden Network, Food Network and the Viacom-owned MTV and VH1 posted messages to viewers that their shows had been suspended "due to the nature of today's tragic events,"
"ABC will continue to cover breaking news throughout the day and into the evening for as long as warranted," network spokesman Kevin Brockman told Reuters. "All regular programming has been preempted."
The crash of two airplaines into the WTC towers, another into the Pentagon, and a fourth in a Pennsylvania field has drawn extensive coverage--the kind that hasn't been seen in America since the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
According to CNN's evening news anchor, Paula Zahn, "The picture of the plane coming at the World Trade Center--that's the kind of visual I can't remember at all in the history of news."
Many local radio stations have also served as a primary source of information on the tragedy. They have toned down their formats, ceasing commercials and giveaways while giving their listeners frequent news updates on the situation. Some even replaced regular programming with broadcasts from affiliate news stations.
The majority of television productions, especially in Los Angeles, have postponed shooting, whether on location or on studio lots, The Hollywood Reporter said.
All city, state and federal buildings in Los Angeles were shut down Tuesday, sending home many of those working in the downtown area.
Among the shows which postponed shooting were ABC's Thieves, scheduled to film in Los Angeles' garment district; CBS' Judging Amy in the Westlake district; Fox's Roswell, The X-Files in Hancock Park; and Warner Bros.' Friends, ER and The West Wing.
Fox's Bernie Mac continued shooting in a Sherman Oaks neighborhood. Paramount's Men, Women & Dogs for the WB Network was filming in Venice on Tuesday, but members of the production team said activity concluded at noon.
ABC's has pulled Saturday's broadcast of The Peacemaker, a film about trying to stop terrorists from getting their hands on stolen Russian nuclear weapons, starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman. Fox has canceled a scheduled Sunday airing of Independence Day.
Comedian Drew Carey was released from the St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank Saturday afternoon following surgery to unblock a coronary artery, reports The Associated Press.
"He's doing great,'' said Carey's publicist Christina Papadopoulos. "He's happy to be home.''
"All of us at ABC are thrilled his procedure was a success,'' network spokesman Kevin Brockman said.
Carey, 43, who has starred in ABC's The Drew Carey Show since 1995, began experiencing chest pains on Thursday and eventually had surgery. The surgery involved having a "stent'' installed in his heart to keep the blocked artery open.
Carey is expected to return to work next week.
Could hip teen queen Buffy the Vampire Slayer be headed for the same network as "20/20" and "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"? According to Entertainment Weekly, ABC has its eye on Buffy, which stars the oft-downloaded Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Although the tongue-in-cheek series has been a cornerstone of the WB network's teen-oriented programming, the question is whether WB can afford to keep the show. Upcoming contract talks might boost the per-episode fee from $1 million to $2 million.
Kevin Brockman, ABC's senior vice president of publicity, says: "There's no truth to that story, and I told Entertainment Weekly that." These kinds of rumors, Brockman says, always seem to come up around renegotiation time.
Another reported network suitor is Fox, which produces the fantasy sci-fi show. In its fifth year, Buffy's ratings are up 12 percent among adults ages 18 to 34.