The History Channel, the cable network that has built a solid business living in the past, is producing its first live programming ever to mark the 60th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
History Channel to
air Arizona service live
By David Bauder
It will cover the memorial service tomorrow on the USS Arizona, one of the 21 vessels sunk, beached or damaged in the sneak attack that drew the United States into World War II. Joan Lunden and Josh Binswanger anchor, starting at 7:30 a.m.
Also tomorrow, The History Channel will be live from The D-Day Museum in New Orleans, where a new "Pacific Wing" is being unveiled.
Its audience is 70 percent men, second only to ESPN. About 20 percent of its programming is military-based. The History Channel documentary, "Tora, Tora, Tora: The True Story of Pearl Harbor," was among the year's highest-rated programs, and it will be repeated tomorrow at 8 p.m.
The first live production is a technical challenge for the 20 staff members.
The job is more difficult because the service is in the middle of a harbor. The History Channel's microwave transmitter is expected to briefly go out of service when a ship passes.
The History Channel knew before Sept. 11 that it wanted to go live on this day, but plans were expanded after the terrorist attacks, Raven said.
"I think Pearl Harbor resounds with a stronger connotation than it did before, especially for a young generation for whom it felt like their grandfather's war," she said.
The History Channel is trying to get as many Pearl Harbor survivors on tape as possible.
"These survivors, as their numbers grow smaller, won't be here much longer," Raven said. "They are witnesses to history and I feel we have a real responsibility to archive their memories."
Other TV networks will also commemorate the Pearl Harbor anniversary tomorrow. NBC presents "Pearl Harbor: Legacy of Attack," a repeat narrated by Tom Brokaw.
The same documentary will be shown in expanded form as part of the National Geographic Channel's prime-time lineup. The Discovery Channel also presents a documentary on the U.S.S. Arizona's destruction.
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