LOS ANGELES -- When the producers of "Third Watch" decided to provide a forum for New York rescue workers to tell their stories of Sept. 11, they were worried about appearing exploitative.
But John Wells, executive producer of the NBC drama based in New York, said it quickly became clear that firefighters, police officers and paramedics welcomed the chance.
Wells conducted most of the interviews for the two-hour special airing at 7 p.m. today.
"I asked three questions and somebody would speak for 45 minutes," Wells said. "These are people who want to tell their stories."
Some of the workers in the special are a regular part of "Third Watch," serving either as consultants or actors. The ensemble drama is about police, fire and paramedic workers on the 3-11 p.m. watch.
The series obtained permission from New York police and fire officials for the interviews with more than 40 people; more than 60 hours of film resulted, Wells said.
The drama's next two episodes will be tied to the attacks that brought down the towers: The Oct. 22 episode is set the day before and the Oct. 29 episode takes place a week after.