A right royal TV takeover

2011-04-22 09:33

Eight thousand broadcast journalists will descend on London on Friday for the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

Will it be worth it? Despite major cutbacks in newsrooms across the globe, many have not spared a cent – making sure that they’ll capture Kate and William’s every awkward moment.

Even as a South African, and even if you couldn’t give a toss about the royal couple’s big day, there’ll be no way of escaping it?.?.?. no matter how state-of-the-art your flatscreen is.

And it all starts with the British Broadcasting Corporation which has naturally been awarded the rights to broadcast the wedding on several of its channels worldwide.

“We will be providing a uniquely British experience, giving South African audiences exactly the same coverage as Britain, and offering them an insider’s insight into the biggest celebration to happen in the UK for many years,” explains BBC Europe and Africa channels’ John Farrar.

Viewers will have access to the arrival of guests and the bride and groom, the full service, the procession and then the balcony appearance of the couple.

When Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles it was believed that one billion viewers tuned in. The union of Kate and Prince William is expected to draw almost two-and-half billion people worldwide.

And it’s not just the BBC World News: the History Channel, Discovery, CNN, E! Entertainment, BBC World, BBC Knowledge, BBC Entertainment, even SABC3 have jumped on the bandwagon.

Obviously, the question of how much is too much has popped up at various times – but that’s not stopping anyone.

Reports in the Guardian newspaper in the UK claim that CNN is expected to send an estimated 400 ground staff to cover the wedding compared to the 50 staff it sent to the Japanese tsunami.

Anchors like Piers Morgan and Richard Quest will be based in London, offering more insight into the atmosphere, people and wedding itself.

Morgan told Entertainment Weekly: “I’m going to be playing very hard and very firmly on my connections to the royal family. I’ve got photographs at home with me and the entire royal family at various events. I had a memorable lunch once with just me, Diana and Prince William. I’ve met the queen five times. I’ve met Charles about 10 times. I know Camilla Parker Bowles well. I’m very friendly with her son. I have connections that most American anchors can only dream of.”

But good ol’ fashioned journalism and contacts will not suffice for CNN, explains Tony Maddox, executive vice- president and managing director of newsgathering for CNN Worldwide.

“Along with CNN’s user-generated community of iReporters, CNN is uniquely positioned to share a first-hand account of the royal wedding across our networks and platforms.”

The plethora of overkill doesn’t just end in informative documentaries, news reports and minute-by-minute details of the big day, E! Entertainment will also bring in its celebrity aspect with Giuliana Rancic on Road to the Altar and will finish off with a Fashion Police: Royal Wedding Special.

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