Coming in September on FRONTLINE


FRONTLINE's September 2016 lineup includes a dual biography of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a two-part hour on education in America, a look back at the 9/11 attacks, and an investigation of Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts.

August 30, 2016
Patrice Taddonio Digital Writer & Audience Development Strategist

When Americans head to the polls in November, they’ll be making a choice between two presidential candidates who have both been in the spotlight for decades.

But in September, FRONTLINE’s season premiere goes beyond the headlines Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have generated over the years to tell the inside story of who they really are.

Airing Tues., Sept. 27 on PBS at a special time (9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST), The Choice 2016 is FRONTLINE’s two-hour, dual biography of both major-party candidates. What has shaped them? How would they lead if elected president? And why do they want to take on one of the most difficult jobs imaginable?

Drawing on dozens of interviews with those who know the candidates best — friends and family, advisors and adversaries, as well as authors, journalists and political insiders — The Choice 2016 is the latest documentary from veteran filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team. At a moment when voters are being bombarded with conflicting partisan stories about Trump and Clinton, the film will offer trustworthy journalism, big-picture context and powerful new insights.

“Both candidates have high unfavorability ratings, and the bitter divide in this country makes it incredibly hard for people to understand how others could support the candidate on the opposite side,” says Kirk. “After watching The Choice 2016, no matter where your allegiance lies, you’ll come away with a new and richex`r understanding of who the opposing candidates are, and how and why he or she has reached this point.”

Also this month: As the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, FRONTLINE will air an encore presentation of The Man Who Knew — the remarkable story of John P. O’Neill, the FBI’s counterterrorism expert who had warned of Al Qaeda’s threat to the United States long before 9/11.

Plus, with children across the country heading back to school, we’ll air a new, two-part hour looking at for-profit colleges and an effort to stem the high school dropout crisis as part of PBS’s “Spotlight Education,” a week of primetime programming about America’s education system.

And finally, we’ll bring you an encore presentation of Business of Disaster, our investigation with NPR into who profited in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Here’s a closer look at our September lineup:

Sept. 6: The Man Who Knew

When the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001, among the thousands killed was the one man who may have known more about Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda than any other person in America: John O’Neill. For 10 years, O’Neill had been the FBI’s leading expert on Al Qaeda. He warned of its reach. He warned of its threat to the U.S. But for some at FBI headquarters, O’Neill was too much of a maverick. In the end, he was forced out of the job he loved and entered the private sector – as director of security for the World Trade Center. His story unfolds in The Man Who Knew, filmmaker Michael Kirk’s classic and deeply haunting FRONTLINE documentary from 2002.

Sept. 13: A Subprime Education / The Education of Omarina

In a one-hour special, FRONTLINE presents two films on education in America. First: In A Subprime Education, correspondent Martin Smith returns to the story of for-profit colleges — which FRONTLINE first examined in the 2010 film College Inc. — to investigate allegations of fraud and predatory behavior in the troubled industry, and the collapse of Corinthian Colleges. Then, The Education of Omarina updates a story FRONTLINE has been following since 2012 — showing how an innovative program to stem the high school dropout crisis has affected one girl’s journey, from a public middle school in the Bronx to an elite New England private school, and now on to college. This two-part hour airs as part of PBS’s “Spotlight Education,” a week of primetime programming focused on the challenges facing America’s education system.

Sept. 20: Business of Disaster

Who profits when disaster strikes? FRONTLINE and NPR investigated the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy — revealing that private insurance companies working for the government have made hundreds of millions of dollars at the same time that thousands of homeowners are claiming they have been underpaid. “We found that disasters like Superstorm Sandy aren’t a disaster for everyone,” says NPR reporter Laura Sullivan, who along with FRONTLINE producer Rick Young and his investigative team spent a year digging into how Sandy recovery dollars were spent.

Sept. 27: The Choice 2016

FRONTLINE’s acclaimed election-year series, The Choice, returns, going behind the headlines to investigate what has shaped Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, where they came from, how they lead and why they want one of the most difficult jobs imaginable.

Check your local PBS listings for airtimes.

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