NEW YORK (AP) _ An estimated 39 million people watched the CBS ''9-11'' documentary that featured video footage from inside the World Trade Center after the terrorist attacks.
The highly anticipated special had a 33 audience share, meaning one-third of the television sets turned on Sunday night were watching the special, Nielsen Media Research said.
``We felt that it was important that people experience this,'' CBS President Leslie Moonves said, ``and it was good that America felt the same way.''
Meanwhile, broadcast networks and cable news stations interrupted regular programming Monday morning to cover remembrances of the attacks, timed to the six-month anniversary.
The ''9-11'' special was based on footage captured by Jules and Gedeon Naudet, French filmmakers who were working on a documentary about New York City firefighters and caught gripping scenes of the World Trade Center collapse.
Some families of attack victims had urged CBS not to air it, worried that the material and emotions would be too raw.
Preliminary Nielsen ratings indicated that the audience peaked at about 43 million people shortly after 10 p.m.
In New York City, the program had a 47 audience share _ nearly half of the TV sets on were watching ''9-11.''
The national audience size compared with the 87 million people who watched the Super Bowl last month and the 45.5 million who saw the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.
CBS has the contractual right to show the ''9-11'' one more time.