Turn on the telly for royal bliss

Apr 24 2011 - 2:17pm

Images

MARTIN CLEAVER/The Associated Press
Employees pose with face masks of Britain’s Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton as they pack the masks for shipping at a production plant in Southam, central England on Friday. More than 120,000 of the masks have been sold worldwide with Mask-arade company staff working around the clock to complete orders before the Royal Wedding. Britain’s Prince William will marry Kate Middleton in London’s Westminster Abbey this Friday.
MARTIN CLEAVER/The Associated Press
Employees pose with face masks of Britain’s Prince William and his fiancee Kate Middleton as they pack the masks for shipping at a production plant in Southam, central England on Friday. More than 120,000 of the masks have been sold worldwide with Mask-arade company staff working around the clock to complete orders before the Royal Wedding. Britain’s Prince William will marry Kate Middleton in London’s Westminster Abbey this Friday.

If you think you can't find a network carrying the royal wedding on Friday, here's the first thing to ask: Have you turned on your TV?

Coverage of the event will air on ABC, NBC and CBS as well as cable-news channels CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Most of those networks are starting their pre game shows, so to speak, at 2 a.m.

This is the Super Bowl of nuptials after all.

Or if you want a veddy, veddy British atmosphere, you can tune in to BBC America, which is billing itself as "the home of the royal wedding." It plans to go live and commercial-free starting at 3 a.m. -- an hour that should work for insomniacs, mothers of newborns and the most avid royal watchers.

About 2 billion people are expected to watch all or some of the television hoopla -- make that coverage -- of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. And that doesn't count the online participants who'll be following the action via live streaming, blogs or Twitter feeds.

With such a monumental audience up for grabs, many networks are vying for viewers. TLC is planning live coverage of the wedding and special programming leading up to the big occasion, including a "Say Yes to the Dress: Princess Brides Special" at 8 p.m. Friday.

The Disney Channel has a week of prime-time shows, beginning Monday, that includes princess-themed movies like "Enchanted" and "Aladdin."

And Bravo is booking some queens of the "Real Housewives" realm for the "Watch What Happens Live: Royal Wedding Spectacular" at 9 p.m. Thursday. It will star host Andy Cohen and guests Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, a New York real housewife, and Cat Ommanney, the tart-tongued British member of the D.C. housewives.

But back to the actual wedding. The choice of channels essentially comes down to which network personalities are your cup of tea. Here's a look at who's doing the hosting honors.

Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters will helm the ABC News coverage of the wedding, along with contributors such as media doyenne Tina Brown and royal historian Robert Lacey. There will be special wedding theme editions of "20/20" at 7 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday.

NBC will offer special "Today" coverage of the wedding with NBC News anchor Brian Williams joining Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and the rest of the team. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Lauer and Vieira will cohost "Inside the Royal Wedding," a behind-the-scenes documentary.

Katie Couric will lead the CBS News coverage with contributions from "Early Show" cohost Erica Hill. Couric will anchor the evening news from London starting Wednesday through the wedding day.

Anderson Cooper and British import Piers Morgan will be part of the crew at CNN's live wedding program, which also will include appearances by "So You Think You Can Dance" host Cat Deeley.

Fox News is putting Shepard Smith and Martha MacCallum in the host seats. Gretchen Carlson of "Fox & Friends" also will be on hand, as will royal experts like author Christopher Anderson.

MSNBC will launch its coverage at 1 a.m. Fridau with Martin Bashir and Chris Jansing. The trenchant "Morning Joe" trio of Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinksi and Willie Geist will arrive at 3 a.m. Will Joe wear something besides a fleece jacket for the occasion?

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