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'9/ll Commission Report' moves closer to TV
Updated: 2004-11-13 14:07

US NBC has moved closer to bringing the best-selling official narrative of the Sept. 11 attacks on America to TV, clinching a deal with Hollywood filmmakers at Imagine Entertainment, the network said on Friday.

Imagine's owners, director Ron Howard and producing partner Brian Grazer, will serve as executive producers on the eight-hour miniseries, which uses the "9/11 Commission Report" as its primary source material, NBC said.

The General Electric Co.-owned network said previously it had teamed up with Graham Yost, the writer-producer behind the acclaimed HBO war series "Band of Brothers" to develop the project. Yost remains on board to write the "9/11" screenplay and executive produce with Howard and Grazer.

The three previously worked together on the HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon," about the early U.S. space program.

The "9/11 Commission" report, a comprehensive account of the suicide hijackings that killed about 3,000 people, has been praised by critics for its crisp narrative style and became a surprise bestseller with more than 1 million copies sold. It was nominated last month for a National Book Award.

As a product of a panel established by the U.S. government, the 567-page report is in the public domain, so TV producers can draw from the material without paying for rights to it.

The top programer at rival broadcaster ABC, Stephen McPherson, said recently his network was in the process of developing a similar project based on the commission report. ABC is owned by Walt Disney Co. .

But NBC, by striking a deal with Imagine, the production house behind such feature films as "A Beautiful Mind" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," has improved its chances of bringing its production to the small screen first.

No air date has been set, but a network spokeswoman said the miniseries could debut as soon as next season. No casting decisions have been made.

Grazer told the entertainment trade paper Daily Variety he intended to stick with the report's nonpartisan tone and "to dramatize in the best and most authentic way what we've learned from it."

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