"The 2000s: A New Reality" Narrated by Rob Lowe to Premiere as Two-Night Summer Event

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07 July 2015
The 2000s: A New Reality
Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic Channels
"The 2000s: A New Reality"
Premieres as
Two-Night Summer Event July 12-13
at 9/8c on National Geographic Channel

          The 2000s introduced an abundance of new terms to the global lexicon: hanging chads, bailouts, marriage equality, al Qaeda, mobile applications and wardrobe malfunction. It was 10 years of highs and lows that would make even Howard Dean yell. National Geographic Channel (NGC) examines the decade that started with the September 11 tragedies and ended with the election of the nation’s first African-American president.

          The 2000s: A New Reality, narrated by Rob Lowe and premiering July 12-13 at 9/8c, follows the same wildly successful formula that made hits of its predecessors, The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us and The ’90s: The Last Great Decade?, by revisiting the key events of the 2000s through first-person interviews with the unexpected game changers, news makers, world leaders and entertainers who left their marks on history. The miniseries will later air globally on the National Geographic Channel in 171 countries and 45 languages, and on the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo.

          Lending their voices to the four-hour special in new, original interviews are Dick Cheney, Mary Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, Perez Hilton, Randy Jackson, Adam McKay, Michael Moore, Bill O’Reilly, Sharon Osbourne, Nancy Pelosi, General David Petraeus, Dan Rather, Geraldo Rivera, Cindy Sheehan, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Donald Trump. The nearly 120 total interviews completed for The 2000s cross every political aisle, racial divide and class schism as contributors seek to uncover and illuminate this first draft of history. When their interviews are combined with unforgettable footage and a familiar soundtrack, the result is revelatory television that puts a new lens on the familiar and alters what you think you know. 

          “Though the 2000s were not that long ago, the changes the decade brought to our global landscape are undeniable,” said NGC President Tim Pastore. “Every time you go through TSA at an airport, answer a call on your smartphone or read celebrity gossip on TMZ, you’re impacted by an event or innovation of that era. Our viewers have shown great interest in this style of storytelling, and we think they will again be wowed by the way the decade unfolds.”

Among the events The 2000s: A New Reality will highlight are:
  •   •  How the nation became united and learned to laugh again after the devastating terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
  •   •  How a college student rocked the music industry to its very core by making everyone’s music available to the world 
  •   •  How a sluggish economy led us to find increased comfort in our own homes — and easy credit eventually took the nation into a catastrophic mortgage crisis
  •   •  How incredible breakthroughs in personal technology gave way to the rise of a new breed of citizen journalists
Premiere episodes include:
The 2000s: A New Reality: Ground Zero
Premieres Sunday, July 12 at 9/8c
          Through rare archival footage and revealing eyewitness testimony, the first two hours of The 2000s: A New Reality tells the story of the first half of a turbulent decade. Our story begins with the most controversial election in American history, and we uncover how the result may have turned on the fate of a 7-year-old child, Elian Gonzalez. Despite the drama of the hanging chads, politics are still eclipsed by entertainment as more Americans watch hit series “Survivor” than vote for both Bush and Gore, and “The Osbournes” offers a new take on reality. The Gary Condit scandal and the summer of the shark fill the headlines before 9/11 shatters our reality. Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump and Michael Moore, among others, deliver gripping firsthand accounts of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks before exploring how the country came to terms with the tragedy and learned to laugh again. Terror strikes again as anthrax is mailed through the post and Bin Laden escapes from Tora Bora, and Americans find solace in fantasy worlds as “The Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter” franchises pack movie theaters. Only weeks after 9/11, American ingenuity finds a showcase with the launch of the iPod. Sales go through the roof, but the country is about to take a massive financial hit as Enron corporate fraud and corruption become one of the biggest financial stories in history. Fears about weapons of mass destruction mount, and America prepares for war as the country begins to divide on the wisdom of invading Iraq. After a military campaign of “shock and awe,” the president is riding high and declares “mission accomplished,” despite the fact that weapons of mass destruction are never found. America’s definition of reality is beginning to take on new meaning.

The 2000s: A New Reality: Boom and Bust
Premieres Monday, July 13 at 9/8c
          The second two-hour episode of The 2000s: A New Reality continues the decade’s story with TV host Nate Berkus sharing his vivid and emotional personal experience of the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, a tragedy that gave rise to citizen journalism. A nation traumatized by terrorism and an unpopular war is given a triumphant reprieve with the capture of Saddam Hussein. But away from the war on terror, celebrity gossip dominates the news — and no story is bigger than Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction,” which helps kick-start the creation of YouTube. The launch of the first iPhone and the arrival of social media give us an “always on” culture in which we are more connected than ever before. American audiences enthusiastically embrace the television hit “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” at the same time Mary Cheney’s sexuality becomes a talking point in the run-up to the 2004 elections. Hurricane Katrina’s devastation exposes the government’s weak points, and climate change becomes “inconvenient.” Despite all the bad news, the economy seems secure as housing prices shoot through the roof and a host of TV shows celebrate our obsession with property. But economic disaster is just around the corner as the bubble bursts and Lehman Brothers goes bankrupt. New political stars Sarah Palin and Barack Obama shine, but it’s Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s actions on the Hudson that give the country a hero everyone can agree on.
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