News

Discovery Networks Goes Ad-Free

8/21/2002 6:00 AM Eastern

Discovery Networks Inc. and A&E Networks went public with their Sept.
11 anniversary plans Wednesday morning, with Discovery's set of services going
commercial-free for the day, and A&E's channel assortment adopting a scroll
tribute approach, coinciding with the attack on the World Trade Center.

All Discovery-owned
nets -- Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, Animal Planet, Travel
Channel, Discovery Health Network and the company's six digital services, will go
without commercials.

Also, special programming on those channels with a 9/11 anniversary theme,
airing prior to anniversary date, will run commercial-free.

Discovery Networks president Billy Campbell said
the no-ad decision was made out of respect for viewers, affiliates and
advertisers.

'We hope that our programming will provide viewers with solace and
understanding and feel that advertising would be unsuitable during this time,'
 he added in a prepared statement.

BBC America, which Discovery distributes, will be commercial-free Sept. 11 as
well.

At A&E Networks, the four channels under its banner
--A&E, The History Channel, The Biography Channel and History Channel
Internationalm -- will interrupt regular fare and go to black at 8:46 a.m., when
on 9/11, the first hijacked airplane struck the World Trade Center.

Names of the victims who lost their lives in the airplane attacks on the WTC
and the Pentagon, and passengers on United Airlines flight 93, which crashed in
Pennsylvania, will appear one-by-one on the screen until 10:30 a.m.

Primetime specials on the channels that night
will be 9/11-related. A&E, for example, will run encore episodes of
Minute by Minute and Investigative Reports pertaining to what
happened on that day, along with a Biography
profile of former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Discovery Network programming plans for the day include:

  • Portraits of Grief (Discovery), based on a set
    of special features in The New York Times

  • 110 Stories (TLC), eyewitness accounts and
    photographs of 9/11

  • Aftermath: The Road to Resilience (Discovery
    Health), tracing the aftereffects of 9/11 on residents of a block in
    Brooklyn

BBC America will spend most of the day offering live coverage of
commemoration ceremonies in New York, Washington, D.C. and worldwide, and a BBC
Symphony Orchestra tribute concert.

Separately, cable/broadcast service FamilyNet
Television announced plans to go commercial-free that morning (9 a.m.-noon) and
from 6-7 p.m.

FamilyNet will present several specials relating to the tragedy before,
during and after the anniversary date, including a live late-night special Sept.
11 from New York.

In another unique Sept. 11 initiative, TV5 Etats-Unis, the French-language
cable service running on Time Warner Cable's New York City system and elsewhere,
will be live from New York for 11 straight hours, starting at 7 a.m. Channel
anchors and correspondents will be exploring the city's situation a year later,
with reaction from France-based experts and NYC
residents.

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