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Ditch your guilty American Idol and Dancing With The Stars habits tonight, people, because this evening the boob tube finally has something worth watching: PBS will air Storm Over Everest, a documentary account of the 1996 disaster on Everest. The two-hour film by noted high-altitude documentarian and five-time summiteer David Breashears uses a combination of new interviews and gripping reenactments to take a fresh look at one of the most high-profile outdoor tragedies in recent history. Check it:
Participants include several sherpas, eyewitnesses, and survivors like Neal Biedelman and Sandy Hill, who until now had refused contact with the media regarding the events. Breashears and the film’s production company, Working Title, constructed a scale model of Everest at Utah’s Snowbird resort to film the reenacted portions, and some participants (including Biedelman) play themselves. Giant fans powered by airplane engines helped recreate the vicious storm that took eight lives in one day.
The documentary airs tonight almost 12 years to the day after the 1996 disaster at 9 p.m., EST, as part of PBS’ Frontline series.