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Nets Roll Out Red Carpet for Royals

4/04/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Cable networks are ramping up
programming tied to the April 29 nuptials of
Prince William and Kate Middleton, as the anticipation
of wedding bells within the British
royal family builds among U.S. audiences.

From documentaries about the royals to
specials on famous television weddings to
post-wedding roundup shows, BBC America,
TV Guide Channel, E!, Wedding Central and
other outlets will provide wall-to-wall coverage
of what is expected to be a much-viewed event.

“Women across America grew up thinking
that they were going to meet their prince and
walk down the aisle in a big ball gown and live
happily ever after,” said Kim Martin, president
and general manager of WE TV and Wedding
Central, which is devoting 110 hours to royal
wedding-themed programming.

For her network’s audience base of young
women, “the royal wedding is a fantasy come
true,” Martin said.

With so much coverage slated for the big
event, Suzanne Kolb, president of marketing,
news and online for E! and Style, said networks
will have to build on their brand strengths to
break through the clutter.

“It puts pressure on the different services
that are choosing to cover the wedding to be
distinctive on how they’re doing it, which is
difficult considering that, for the live portion,
we’re pretty much all watching the same
event,” Kolb said.

On E!, Giuliana Rancic will provide live
coverage of the wedding, and there will be a
primetime special episode of Fashion Police
with Joan Rivers and Kelly Osbourne recapping
the day’s events.

Wedding Central will tap online popculture
personality Perez Hilton to host a bestof
royal wedding special April 29. “We’ll have
footage interspersed with his comments, in the
language that our young female audience is accustomed
to reading on his site,” Martin said.

On TV Guide, Kathy Griffin will host a postwedding
special that takes a more humorous
look at the royal nuptials. “We feel by primetime
Friday night, everyone would have seen
everything, so we thought we would have a
fun, humorous take of it,” Robina said.

BBC America will create a short series
around the wedding dubbed Royally Mad,
hosted by Cat Deeley of So You Think You Can
Dance
. It will take five U.S.-based royal wedding
fanatics to London to visit places and
people associated with the nuptials.

The BBC’s stateside outlet, which began airing
royal wedding-themed content as early as
December, will telecast BBC One’s commercial-
free coverage of the wedding in the U.S.

“Our goal is to really make you feel like
you’re in a British living room experiencing
the wedding,” BBC America general manager
Perry Simon said.

“Royal weddings come along very rarely …
it seems like the one event the world comes together
around in a very romantic, filled-withpageantry
kind of way,” Kolb said. “They are in
many ways this wonderful, young couple that
is a sign of hopeful happiness in a window of
time where there isn’t a lot of that happening
in the world.”

ROYAL WEDDING ORIGINALS

Cable networks have slated a slew of specials, series and documentaries related to the royal wedding of
Prince William and Kate Middleton. Some highlights:

April 12:

BBC America:
Royally Mad (series)

April 18

Lifetime: William &
Kate
(movie)

Lifetime: Royal
Wedding of a
Lifetime
(series)

April 22

TLC: Say Yes to the Dress: Princess Brides
Special
(special)

April 24

BBC America: Prince William’s
Africa
(documentary)

TLC: Charles and Di: Once Upon a
Time
(special)

TLC: Untold Stories of a Royal
Bridesmaid
(special)

Wedding Central: William
& Kate: The Wedding of the
Century
(special)

April 25

TLC: Wild About Prince Harry (special)

April 27

TLC: Extreme Royal Collections (special)

BBC America: Royal London (special)

BBC America: How to Be a Prince (special)

April 28

TLC: The Making of a Royal Wedding (special)

April 29

TV Guide Network: Kathy Griffin’s Insightful
and Hilarious Take on the Royal Wedding

(special)

Wedding Central: William+Kate Forever
(special)

September