Cable News Network this Sunday will kick off a project it
has billed as its most ambitious ever: the 10-part documentary series Millennium.
The series, the brainchild of Time Warner Inc. vice
chairman Ted Turner, has been in production for more than two years. Its crew has traveled
100,000 miles in 28 countries to film monasteries, temples, cathedrals, palaces and cities
around the globe.
The first one-hour episode, "Century of the Sword: The
Eleventh Century," debuts Oct.10 at 10 p.m. The subsequent nine parts will air each
Sunday thereafter, with the 10th and final segment, "Century of the Globe:
The Twentieth Century," airing Dec. 12.
Turner came up with the idea for a miniseries on the
millennium in late 1997, according to Pat Mitchell, president of Time Inc.-CNN
Productions. She and Sir Jeremy Isaacs -- Millennium'sexecutive producers-- were at the time involved in producing CNN's epic series The Cold War,she
"Ted said this was a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity," Mitchell said. "But Jeremy and I were daunted by it."
That's because the production, which started in 1998, would
have to illustrate and tell the story of at least 900 years of history for which there are
no film or photos, little art and no eyewitnesses, according to Mitchell. That made the
project more challenging than The Cold War,she said.
CNN found a way to tell its story by optioning the book Millennium,
written by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. Mitchell and Isaacs used the author's approach,
which was to cover the past thousand years globally and select vignettes from within a
Millennium relies on film footage shot by its crew as
well as re-enactments, which Mitchell said will be indicated as such, and