Times Towers over History

Smith to host two-hour retrospective

The New York Times has tapped Towers Prods. to deliver a two-hour History Channel retrospective adapted from the newspaper’s special Sunday magazine issues examining great moments, movements and movers and shakers of the millennium.

Spec, hosted by Harry Smith, is slated to run in December. The Times is set to publish six special millennium-wrap issues of the Sunday magazine this year, two of which have bowed since April.

The History Channel spec was envisioned as an editorial “cousin” to the magazine issues, rather than just a highlights reel.

“There’s something quixotic about trying to do a two-hour documentary on the millennium,” said Jonathan Towers, prexy of the Chicago-based indie production outfit. “It’s a work in progress right now, but with all the (retrospective TV specs) that have already been done, we’re looking for what hasn’t been done yet.”

Like the Sunday mags, the spec will single out events that sparked broader social, cultural and economic changes. For example, the fatal attraction of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn has been designated the “sex scandal of the millennium,” as it led to the establishment of the Church of England.

Lensing on the still-untitled project is taking Towers’ producers Greg Jacobs and Betsy Steinberg from China to Mexico, and many points in between.

Towers Prods. is a steady supplier of TV docu fare to History Channel, A&E Network and other outlets. Recent credits include this year’s “Biography” seg on J. Edgar Hoover and “The Hidden History of Chicago,” a spec set to run June 26 on History Channel.

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