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List of audiovisual entertainment affected by the September 11 attacks: Wikis


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The September 11 attacks had an important impact on the audiovisual entertainment business, not just in terms of television coverage.


Television coverage

Television coverage of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and their aftermath was the longest uninterrupted news event in the history of U.S. television. The major U.S. broadcast and cable networks were on the air for days with uninterrupted coverage from the moment news first came that the first plane hit the World Trade Center. Millions of shocked television viewers watching live pictures of the World Trade Center saw the second plane hit and both buildings come down. In order to keep up with the constant flood of information, at 10.49 a.m., Fox News Channel began running continuous updates in the form of a news ticker that crawled along the bottom of the screen. This was so well received by viewers that it became a permanent feature on the channel and was adopted by many other news channels.

During 9/11 itself, and in the days following, news broadcasters scrambled to report accurate information. Occasionally erroneous information was broadcast. An examination of CNN's coverage of 9/11 (which was replayed online, virtually in its entirety, on the fifth anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2006) reveals that following the attack on the Pentagon, CNN also reported a fire had broken out on the Washington Mall and that a car bomb had exploded in front of the State Department. It also broadcast an interview with a witness to the Pentagon attack who said it was a helicopter that hit the building, not a plane. CNN was not alone in airing these or similar inaccurate reports, as subsequent examination of coverage by other networks has shown.

For the first time since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the television networks announced that there would be no commercials or entertainment programs for an indefinite time several hours after the attacks, because of the feelings of a shocked nation. It was also felt that it was not a time for "fun and entertainment" when so much death and destruction was being seen live on television. The coverage lasted for 93 hours, day and night.[citation needed]


Reaction of various networks

The major cable and satellite television networks in the United States reacted in three different ways:

Smaller broadcast networks also altered their schedule. Affiliates of the WB simulcast CNN. In general, UPN affiliates also carried CBS News; however, nine of the 10 UPN stations owned by Fox Television Stations Group, including KCOP in Los Angeles and WPWR in Chicago, aired Fox News instead. (WWOR had local coverage.) PAX TV (later i, now ION Television) aired NBC News, which had a close relationship with many affiliates at the time.

Use of pictures

The television coverage had far more traumatic effects on children. When asked for her thoughts on the attacks, First Lady Laura Bush responded with a very strong warning to parents: don't let your children see the pictures over and over, especially your young children, but even elementary school-aged children shouldn't be watching it all the time. She felt it was too frightening for them and warned that parents turn off the television so that children do not see the replays over and over again.[1] She gave the very strong warning based on how children reacted to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. As it turns out, TV networks stopped airing the footage for the most part within a month of the attacks; one news executive told Us magazine that such showings were now more sensational than relevant.

Long-term television and radio transmitter damage in New York City

The transmitter facilities of WPIX as well as six other New York City television stations and several radio stations were destroyed as the WTC collapsed. WPIX's satellite feed froze on the last image received from the WTC mast; the image remained on the screen for much of the day, broadcasting continent-wide, until WPIX was able to set up alternate transmission facilities. Several weeks remained before adequate analog broadcast transmissions resumed.


Numerous movies were cancelled that were in production, and many movies were edited. The most common way of editing was to delete or obscure shots of the World Trade Center. There were various reasons given for the alterations, including keeping material up-to-date, as a gesture of respect for those who died, and to avoid trauma for those emotionally affected by the attack. There are also many movies which notably did not edit their films.

In all, roughly 45 films were edited or postponed because of the 9/11 attacks.[2]

Edited movies

  • Trailers for the movie Spider-Man were edited so a scene (not in the movie) showing Spider Man capturing a helicopter between the towers was deleted. In the actual movie, a shot of the World Trade Center was deleted. The scene of Spider-Man hanging onto a flagpole with a large American Flag, seen in later trailers and at the end of the film, was added in response to the attacks.
  • In the movie Zoolander, the WTC was digitally deleted.[3]
  • The WTC was removed from the poster for Sidewalks of New York, though the buildings were kept in the film.[4]
  • Shots of the WTC in Serendipity were digitally removed.
  • In the movie Spy Game, the level of smoke shown following a bombing was reduced because of its similarity to the smoking WTC wreckage.[5]
  • The 2002 film Men in Black II featured a climax that included the World Trade Center. The building was changed to the Statue of Liberty.[3]
  • Shots of the WTC in Kissing Jessica Stein were removed before its release.[3]
  • The ending to the 2002 animated movie Lilo and Stitch was edited from Stitch taking a 747 on a joyride and swerving around buildings, to Stitch taking a spaceship on a joyride and swerving around mountains. The original ending was included on the Masterpiece/Special edition DVD.
  • The action/psychological thriller The Bourne Identity had to be greatly edited due to the involvement of terrorism in the storyline. On the special edition DVD are descriptions of how and why the movie was changed.
  • Scenes of the WTC were removed from People I Know.[6]
  • Early versions of The Incredibles featured a scene where a frustrated Mr. Incredible vents his emotions on an abandoned building, but ends up accidentally damaging a neighboring building as well. This was considered too reminiscent of the World Trade Center collapse, and was replaced with a scene where Mr. Incredible and Frozone rescue trapped civilians from a burning building.

Delayed movies

  • The release of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Collateral Damage was postponed for four months. The movie featured a terrorist bombing in front of an L.A. building.[7]
  • The 2002 version of The Time Machine was held back three months because of a scene where a meteor shower destroys New York. This scene was also removed.[8]
  • The film Big Trouble was postponed seven months because it involved a nuclear bomb being smuggled on board an aircraft.[7]
  • The 2002 action-comedy film Bad Company had its release date pushed back several months because the plot involved a criminal mastermind planning to detonate a bomb in Grand Central Station in New York.

Non-altered movies

Some movies kept scenes of the World Trade Center in them.

Cancelled movies

  • A Jackie Chan movie called Nosebleed, about a window washer on the WTC who foils a terrorist plot, was cancelled.[10]
  • A television miniseries announced for the 2001-02 season that would have united the casts of Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and the new Law & Order: Criminal Intent in investigating a terrorist attack on New York City, was cancelled immediately after the attacks.
  • A proposed script for True Lies 2, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis, was scrapped as it too closely resembled the WTC attacks.[11]

WTC added

Some filmmakers have added the World Trade Center to films that are set during periods when the buildings were still standing.

  • The 2002 TV movie It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie features the twin towers in an alternate reality where an angel shows Kermit the Frog what the world would be like had he never been born.
  • The 2003 American miniseries Angels in America, set in 1985, had the WTC towers digitally re-inserted for historical accuracy.
  • The 2004 film Miracle, set in 1980, has a digital World Trade Center on the New York skyline.[12]
  • The 2005 film Munich, set in 1973, features a computer-generated World Trade Center.
  • The 2005 film Rent, set in 1989 and 1990, includes a shot of the World Trade Center.
  • World Trade Center and United 93 (2006) take place on the day of the attacks and feature the buildings.
  • Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) contains a segment when the animals arrive in New York City, and the original World Trade Center twin towers are seen in the distance.
  • The 2009 film Watchmen, which takes place in the mid-1980s, features the twin towers in several of the scenes.


Most mainstream news sites were deluged with traffic on September 11th as users sought out information on the attacks. As a result many sites had to radically alter their layouts. Partly this was done to provide the most efficient means to inform the reader. Emphasis was placed on showing the chronology of the attacks, list statements by President George W. Bush and others, and to give updates to federal closers and responses. All other news stories and sections that once appeared on the sites were temporarily removed as they were irrelevant and most likely not wanted by the reader given the gravity of the 9/11 story. These changes may also have been done to reduce the bandwidth needed to load a page. and all but removed the photos, video, or audio features once heavily featured as a means to cope with the extreme traffic demands placed on their servers. Ads were also largely removed out of respect of the attacks and as a further means to reduce bandwidth demands.

Over time the news sites returned to a state of normality, but most would go on to feature stories on the attacks and on the resulting War on Terror in sidebars or boxes.

Television programming

The most immediate impact to television was the loss of David Angell, a co-creator and co-executive producer from the NBC show Frasier, who was among the passengers on American Airlines Flight 11.

In the United States, the start of the 2001-2002 television season was put on hold due to the extensive news coverage (several series, such as NBC's Crossing Jordan, were originally scheduled to debut on September 11), with mid-September premieres delayed until later in the month. Late night talk shows such as The Tonight Show and Late Show with David Letterman were also off the air. Even after regular programming resumed, several talk shows remained off the air for several more days as writers and hosts determined how best to approach the sensitive situation. David Letterman was quoted on CNN as questioning whether he would even continue hosting his show. Ultimately, Letterman, Jay Leno, Jon Stewart and other talk show hosts based in New York and Los Angeles returned to the airwaves with emotional initial broadcasts, with Letterman breaking network language guidelines by asking his audience how the attacks "made any goddamn sense."

Several TV series, most notably The West Wing and Third Watch, produced special episodes addressing the attacks. Law & Order began its fall season premiere with a tribute to the victims. Shows such as JAG and New York-based Third Watch made major changes to their ongoing storylines in order to incorporate the event's aftermath.

Controversial comments regarding the attacks on Politically Incorrect were directly responsible for that show's cancellation in 2002.[citation needed]

At least Three entertainment-related award shows were delayed:

The postponements and cancellations of various entertainment programs sparked rumors that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were postponing or even canceling the 74th Academy Awards ceremony. However, in a written statement released by president Frank Pierson, he denied any rumors that the attacks would affect the scheduling of the awards presentation saying that "the terrorists will have won" if they canceled it. Nevertheless, the show went on as planned on March 24, 2002. The security was much tighter than in previous years, and the show had a more somber tone. According to New York Magazine, there were 26 references to the attacks during the telecast.[13] On October 16, 2006, the awards event itself was designated a National Special Security Event by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Other changes prompted by the events of 9/11 include:

  • On The Agency, the pilot episode about terrorism was replaced with the fifth episode.
  • The "Road to Rhode Island" episode of Family Guy originally featured a scene where Stewie Griffin does a song and dance in order to distract airport security from finding weapons in his bag. Osama bin Laden is seen doing the same thing. This scene was edited out of a 2002 Fox rerun, as well as the original Volume 1 DVD release, though it was included in a 2004 release.
  • On the TV series Friends, in episode 8x03 ("The One Where Rachel Tells..."), Chandler and Monica couldn't get on their flight for their honeymoon because Chandler joked about bombing in the airport. After the attacks, the story was rewritten and re-shot.[1]
  • In Japan, the premiere of the anime series Full Metal Panic! was delayed due to a terrorist plane hijacking being an integral part of the first major plot arc.
  • New material was quickly added to Sesame Street following the attacks addressing issues raised. The first episode of the season involved a grease fire at Hooper's Store which traumatized Elmo until he meets some real life firefighters. Big Bird has to deal with his pen pal Gulliver, who does not believe birds should be friendly to other species. [2]
  • On Cartoon Network, the 22nd episode of the anime Cowboy Bebop was skipped because it features a terrorist bomber. Coincidentally, the buildings he was attempting to destroy in the episode strongly resembled the Twin Towers destroyed on September 11, 2001. This episode has since entered normal rotation after the show's first run. Despite not airing the episode, the preview footage - which included the offending scene - was shown.
  • The producers of the show Futurama changed the show's opening by leaving out the part in which the Planet Express ship crashes into a giant TV screen. A few months later the scene was put back into the show's opening, except on the East Coast, where the edited opening sequence was kept until early April 2002.
  • The cartoon Invader Zim had a scene of the destruction of New York City in the episode "Door to Door," which was replaced with an alternate scene depicting monsters rampaging around the series' normal suburban setting.
  • An episode of the game show Jeopardy! which aired in November 2001 featured footage of The Pentagon; at the next regularly scheduled break, host Alex Trebek explained to viewers the episode had been filmed prior to September 11. Jeopardy! champion Kevin Laude's one win, slated to air September 11, never aired in its run in most of the country, until it reran on GSN for the first time in June 2005.
  • The opening credits of the new series Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which debuted on September 30, were re-edited to remove an image of the World Trade Center.
  • Before 9/11, the syndicated version of the Married... with Children episode "Get Outta Dodge"[14] featured a scene of two Arabs with a ticking bomb at the front door of Al Bundy's house offering to buy his Dodge for $40 and asking for directions to the Sears Tower. The scene was cut from the syndicated re-airings of the episode after 9/11.
  • An episode of Neighbours due to be shown that week, was edited because it featured a scene of a carjacking.
  • The opening credits of Sex and the City episodes that aired after 9/11 were modified. Two shots of the World Trade Center were replaced: the skyline shot behind the show's title was replaced with an image from a different perspective, and the shot behind Sarah Jessica Parker's name in the credits was replaced with one of the Empire State Building. According to DVD commentary by Michael Patrick King, the first episode using this edited credit sequence, "The Good Fight," also had a scene of the World Trade Center digitally removed before broadcast; the affected scene was of characters played by Kim Cattrall and James Remar dancing in their bathrobes besides an outdoor pool.
  • An episode of The Simpsons entitled '"The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson," which was partially set at the World Trade Center, was pulled from syndication by some carriers, though many are now showing it again.[15] Some individual carriers have removed World Trade Center scenes on their own, while the distributor of The Simpsons still releases the episode in full for syndication.
  • In the title sequence of The Sopranos, an image of the World Trade Center towers could be seen in Tony Soprano's rear view mirror. Just prior to the start of the fourth season in September 2002, producer David Chase removed this cut altogether.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants edited a scene from the episode called "Just One Bite because it features a lit match and a bucket of gas being in contact, causing The Krusty Krab to explode and burn.
  • Several episodes of Transformers: Robots in Disguise were edited or removed from the air. Three episodes were never aired in the United States, as they featured buildings being destroyed (indeed, the primary plot point of one episode was evacuating humans from a collapsing building). Others were edited to remove explosions in buildings or references to terrorism.
  • The pilot for the first season of 24 was postponed from October to November. It included a scene of a terrorist parachuting out of an exploding plane. The scene was later altered so that the explosion itself would not be seen.
  • An episode of WWF SmackDown! due to be taped on 9/11 in Houston, Texas was instead broadcast live on September 13. The show began with an introduction by Vince McMahon who dedicated the show to the memories of those who died and was followed by the full roster coming out for the national anthem. Throughout the show various wrestlers talked about the events two days before. WWF's other main brand, WWE Raw, dropped its RAW is WAR slogan. As well, the PPV WWE Armageddon had its name changed to WWE Vengeance three months later (though the company would bring the name back a year later).
  • In the week following the attacks, ESPN's SportsCenter did continue to air at its normal times (as it has every day since its inception in 1979), after ESPN finished showing ABC News coverage. However, as all major sports events that week were cancelled or postponed, the show was reformatted to focus on news regarding the attacks, their aftermath, and their effects on sports and athletes.
  • The Price Is Right debuted a CBS primetime version of the daytime classic in 2002, the first of which aired before the 2002 Daytime Emmy Awards, commemorating a different branch of the Armed Forces, and concluding with a Police and Firefighters special, with the NYPD and FDNY represented among other public safety officers on the episode. Officially, these episodes were declared #001S to #006S. The success of these summer original episodes led to the contiunation of the series as the Million Dollar Spectacular, which officially started at #007S. Both are officially one series for the record books on the show.
  • "The Rats" a made for television movie about large numbers of rats wreaking havok Manhattan, was originally slated to air in September 2001. The movie was finally aired a year later on September 17, 2002.
  • For a few weeks after the NASCAR season resumed, NBC and TNT coverage of NASCAR dropped the "Give me fuel, give me fire, give me all that I desire" chant before the "Fuel" opening.


  • XM Radio, a subscription-based satellite radio service headquartered in Washington, D.C., was scheduled to launch on September 12, 2001. As a direct result of the attacks, the launch was delayed until September 25, when the service debuted on a limited basis in San Diego, CA and Dallas, TX.[citation needed]
  • Program directors from a number of radio stations throughout the US retooled their playlists in response to the attacks. Common changes included the heavy rotation of songs such as "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood and Whitney Houston's rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. Meanwhile, songs such as U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday," and "Crash Into Me" by the Dave Matthews Band were commonly deleted. Additionally, Clear Channel came under scrutiny for distributing a list of 150 potentially sensitive songs that were not recommended for broadcast immediately after the attacks.[16]
  • According to Arrogant Worms band member Trevor Strong, the song Worst Seat on the Plane was never performed live due to Idiot Road, the album it was featured on, being released on September 18, 2001, one week after the terrorist attacks.[17]

Theme parks

  • The Walt Disney World attraction The Timekeeper, a 360-degree film presentation that features a panoramic view of New York City, including the Twin Towers, closed on September 11, 2001 and updated the scene of New York City without the Twin Towers or the WTC site (a digitally-created fictitious large park is in its place). The attraction later closed.[citation needed]

Video games

  • The video game Grand Theft Auto III, released in October 2001, was rumored to allow players to hijack commercial planes at the airport.[citation needed] However, since the game was set in a city loosely based on New York City, developers considered it inappropriate and removed this aspect from the final version. Additionally, the paint scheme of the city's police cars was also changed from a blue-and-white NYPD design[18] to a black-and-white LAPD design[19] during game development.
  • The video game Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was released as scheduled in November 2001 despite the plot centering around terrorists in New York City and a scene in which a giant battleship crashes into Federal Hall; however, a scene in which Arsenal Gear, a futuristic mobile fortress, destroys the Statue of Liberty and half of Manhattan was removed, as was live-action footage of the Twin Towers originally slated to be used in the ending.
  • Microsoft removed the World Trade Center from Microsoft Flight Simulator beginning with the 2002 edition. Also, Microsoft removed Crash Damage from the games. That meant that when a plane crashed, it did not catch alight.
  • The 2000 computer game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, depicting an alternate history where the Soviet Union launches an invasion of the United States, changed its box art after the attacks. The original art was a fold-out cover. The inside depicted the New York skyline on fire including a ruined Twin Towers with flames and smoke emitting out. The cover depicted a Soviet soldier who was wearing an eyepiece with crosshairs on the American flag. The altered cover merely depicted the Soviet soldier wearing the eyepiece with crosshairs on a nuclear bomb explosion. The release of its 2001 expansion pack, Command & Conquer: Yuri's Revenge, was postponed because of this. Controversial in-game levels, including ones where players had to destroy the Pentagon and attack the World Trade Center area, were not changed, however the landmarks and level names like "Operation: Big Apple" were no longer mentioned in walkthroughs on the game's website.
  • The Dreamcast game Propeller Arena was canceled. It was an air combat game which featured modern-day dog fighting with planes in cities that had skyscraper buildings. A leaked and incomplete version has since made it to the Internet.[20]
  • The PlayStation 2 game Mobile Suit Gundam: Journey to Jaburos release date in the United States was delayed due to the opening scene where a space colony was dropped on a city that resembles New York.
  • The PlayStation 2 game Shinobi originally had a scene in which the main character jumps out of a helicopter and sticks his sword into the side of a skyscraper to slow his fall. When this character hit the ground, the building was supposed to shatter. The scene was removed.
  • The PlayStation game Syphon Filter 3 had its cover art changed before release.[21] It originally had Gabe Logan, viewed from an angle, pointing a gun at the camera with a look of anger while Lian swung into frame guns ablazing. The American flag was prominently displayed as well. It was changed to a generic head-view of Gabe and Lian looking serious. A level in the game that takes place in Kabul, Afghanistan (albeit in the 1980s when it was under Soviet occupation) remained.
  • The PlayStation game Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro had its final level changed.[22] Originally it was a showdown between Spider-Man and Electro atop the World Trade Center. This was changed to the top of another generic skyscraper. The New York City skyline was also obscured by a storm so that the World Trade Center was not visible.



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