Mediabistro.com had this story in their newsfeed from the New York Times:
While major broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and PBS are forgoing regular programming to put on special 9/11 tributes, Fox, NBC, and HBO will have regular broadcasting on. Fox said in the article that they are contractually obligated to show football that evening. NBC will be showing all the football that they planned on showing. Of course, the question here is whether legalities should get in the way with the public watching the news, or special news programming. I think not, but luckily for those networks, they have sister channels such as Fox News Channel and MSNBC which will be showing special primetime programming.
What really caught my attention though, was what HBO had to say. They explained that they had production schedules to follow. They also went on to say this to the New York Times: “It’s to continue with our schedule for those people who are looking to continue with their life and to have an alternative to more topical viewing.” I’ve often wondered about that side of the coin. Of course, most of the nation who was touched by this tragedy probably wants to watch tributes about what happened that day. But, what about the families that don’t want to be reminded? Even though it is literally a decade after, the pain could still be raw for some people. Those people will probably not appreciate all the newspaper covers, local broadcast news coverage and special programming on the major networks. For those people, Fox, NBC and HBO are offering an escape, even if just for a little while. I think the news has an obligation to accommodate every viewer or reader they have. So even if it was just a coincidence, at least some sort of alternative will be available.