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ABC, NBC Succumb To Royal-Baby Primetime Ratings Crack; CBS Just Says No

ABC News, which blew out large chunks of ABC’s daytime schedule today to cover the birth of Britain’s Royal Baby, announced this afternoon that Babs Walters will anchor a special royal-baby edition of 20/20 tomorrow. The Royal Baby: Heir to the Throne is the name of Tuesday’s 20/20, because Little Prince was already taken – not by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, silly – by NBC! That network’s baby special airs tonight – a very special “Dateline,” hosted by Natalie Morales, preempting the network’s low-rated Siberia.

NBC also broke into its daytime schedule today with a special report on the baby birthing. Little Prince promises us an intimate look inside the lives of proud parents Kate and Prince William, Duches and Duke of Cambridge. Also, we’ll see talks with their friends, and the latest details about the couple’s future plans as a family – plus rare childhood images of new-dad William and his little brother Harry. One night later, Babs — who will next spring step down as the reigning queen of celebrity journalism — will explain the lifestyle and inheritance the new prince will enjoy. She’ll also explain who is the extended family, who are the privileged babies His Royal Tot-ness will soon call playmates, what’s next for the baby and, how the grand mother he will never meet – that would be Diana – will influence his life. Ick.

RELATED: Media Mob Cheers Royal Baby Boy

Royal family … Read More »

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H’wood To Meet British Royals For Cheap

There’s a lot of secrecy surrounding the event, so the British press thinks prices are sky high. But I’ve learned that Hollywood movie and TV companies are being asked to pay a very normal, even cheap, $25,000 a table for the inaugural “BAFTA Brits To Watch” black-tie dinner at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles on July 9 featuring Prince William and his new bride Kate. It’s on the itinerary of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to California helping highlight the depth and range of British talent currently emerging in film, television and video games. Prince William was elected BAFTA president last year, and American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe is chairman of BAFTA in LA.

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Report: Royal Newlywed Visit To Hollywood

By | Monday May 2, 2011 @ 1:00pm PDT

UK Royal Family watcher Andrew Morton has just published an exclusive that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – aka Will and Kate — are heading to Hollywood this summer. “Royal aides have penciled in a 2-day visit to Hollywood at the end of their tour of Canada which takes place in late June and early July. It will be their first overseas visit as a married couple. At this stage details are sketchy — the royal honeymoon was canceled at short notice — but early July is the date that aides are talking about.” The rest of the report is speculative. (“It looks likely that David and Victoria Beckham, who were guests at the royal wedding on Friday, would be involved.”) It was 1985 when Will’s mum, Princess Diana, made her first U.S. visit, which included an introduction to Hollywood at a White House dinner hosted by President Reagan. That’s when the Princess of Wales infamously danced with John Travolta. As for Kate, she’d probably prefer to get jiggy with Channing Tatum.

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UPDATE: Royal Wedding World TV Plans

2ND UPDATE: A 5 AM walkthrough of the Royal Wedding route took place today complete with carriages, trumpeters and up to 1,000 members of the Armed Forces wearing full ceremonial uniform. Meanwhile, the first spectator has claimed his spot right outside Westminster Abbey, kitted out with flags, a sleeping bag and an umbrella. But when Prince William slides the wedding ring on Kate Middleton’s finger on April 29, will there really be an expected global audience of 2 billion watching? NBC keeps saying ”it’s completely false” that it has cut back on the number of pre-taped segments because U.S. networks may have overestimated America’s appetite for all things House of Windsor compared to 1981, when William’s father Prince Charles wed Lady Diana Spencer. This time, around 140 million U.S. viewers are expected to watch. Worldwide, when 800 million watched the Charles-Di nuptials, this time Tim Santhouse, operational manager at AP Television News Global Media Services tells me ”the volume of broadcasters coming to London, and the number of camera set-ups involved, is unprecedented in terms of interest from overseas broadcasters and the proliferation of news outlets.” AP will be providing camera set-ups and satellite uplinks for around 60 networks doing direct-to-camera pieces including Canada’s CTV, Australia’s Channel 9, and Arab news channel Al-Jazeera. The 62 broadcaster members of the European Broadcast Union -– which include ARD in Germany, France 2 and RAI in Italy –- will be getting their clean feed directly from the BBC. Sam Dubberly, who is in charge of forwarding BBC coverage, tells me, ”the closer we get to the wedding, the more requests we’ve been getting from members.” But NHK, the Japanese state broadcaster, won’t only out of respect for its still-grieving population in the wake of the earthquake/tsunami disaster.

Talk about a high-tech event: one estimate has 8,000 TV and radio reporters and support staff traveling from around the world into London to cover the nuptials, which start at 3 AM PT. Around 140 outside broadcast trucks with satellite uplinks will be parked in nearby Green Park, with every major world broadcaster lining up cameras along the procession route. The BBC will be using 21 cameras inside the scene of the wedding itself, Westminster Abbey, some of them wireless and remote-controlled. But Prince Charles’ office stopped Rupert Murdoch from shooting the wedding in 3D, saying there just wasn’t enough room for his extra equipment in the Abbey.

Here’s who’s trying to cash in on Friday’s wedding day: Read More »

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CABLE MOVIE NEWS: Jeanne Tripplehorn, Patricia Clarkson To Star In Lifetime’s ‘Project 5′, Hallmark Casts Its Kate Middleton

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Jeanne Tripplehorn and Patricia Clarkson are set to star in the Lifetime original movie Project Five, an anthology of five short films exploring the impact of breast cancer on people’s lives, four of which are being directed by Jennifer Aniston, Alicia Keys, Demi Moore and Patty Jenkins. Tripplehorn plays Pearl, the only character, an oncologist, who appears in all five segments. Her main film is directed by Jenkins. Clarkson will star in the segment directed by Aniston. Project Five, from Sony TV and exec producers  Aniston, Marta Kauffman, Paula Wagner, Kristin Hahn, Kevin Chinoy and Francesca Silvestri, is slated to air in October, which is breast cancer awareness month. Read More »

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NBC Teams Up With ITN For Royal Wedding

By | Monday March 28, 2011 @ 12:33pm PDT

NBC News has partnered with ITN, the news service run by UK broadcaster ITV, for its royal wedding coverage. The U.S. broadcaster will offer 20 hours of combined coverage with MSNBC on the wedding day, April 29. Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira will present a one-hour primetime doc the night before Prince William and Kate Middleton walk down the aisle, while Martin Bashir –- the Brit reporter who famously got Princess Diana to admit Prince Charles’ adultery on TV –- will lead MSNBC’s London coverage. Every NBC brand will be devoting swathes of coverage to the event including live coverage on Today, Access Hollywood, Bravo, E!, Telemundo, The Weather Channel and women’s website iVillage, which will feature “an exclusive interview with the couple’s former landlady”. Puh-lease. Read More »

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Lifetime Sets Pre-Wedding Premiere Date For ‘William & Kate’, Preps ‘Royal Wedding’ Docu

Nellie Andreeva

Lifetime’s original movie William & Kate, about the romance between Prince William (Nico Evers-Swindell) and Kate Middleton (Camilla Luddington) will  premiere on Monday, April 18, 11 days before the William and Kate’s royal wedding. Lifetime is also planning a six-part documentary Royal Wedding of a Lifetime, which will launch after the William & Kate premiere. William & Kate is produced by the Konigsberg Co., Royal Wedding of a Lifetime by U.K.’s Renegade Pictures. Just yesterday, Hallmark Channel announced its own William and Kate movie, William & Kate: A Royal Love Story, to premiere on Aug. 13.

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Hallmark Fast-Tracking William & Kate Movie

By | Tuesday February 22, 2011 @ 6:56pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

With Lifetime well underway on their movie William & Kate, Hallmark Channel is prepping its own telefilm about the photogenic future royal couple. The cable channel announced it will soon go into production on William & Kate: A Royal Love Story for an August 13 premiere. The Hallmark movie was written by and is executive produced by Emmy-winning producer Linda Yellen, who also exec produced the hugely popular telefilm The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana, about the once-fairytale love story of Prince William’s parents. “While biographical, the film is a love story with an inside look at the nuances of a modern monarchy,” Hallmark’s SVP original programming Barbara Fisher said.

Lifetime’s William & Kate, which stars Nico Evers-Swindell as Prince William and Camilla Luddington as Kate Middleton, is already in production for a premiere targeted around the couple’s Royal Wedding on April 29.

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Lifetime’s ‘William & Kate’ Biopic Casts Kate

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Lifetime’s original movie William & Kate, about the modern-day fairytale romance between Prince William and Kate Middleton, now has both of its leads locked in. Young British actress Camilla Luddington, who was born in the same county as Middleton, Berkshire, has landed the role of the princess-to-be. She will star opposite Nico Evers-Swindell, previously cast as Prince William, and Ben Cross as his father, Prince Charles. The movie, whose production is expected to begin next week, has been fast-tracked to premiere around William and Kate’s April 29 Royal Wedding. Luddington, who next appears in the Hallmark movie Accidentally In Love, is with Main Title and Progressive Artists. UPDATE: Also cast in the movie are Australian actor Jonathan Moore and Brit Richard Reid as William’s friends Frederick Sellers and Guy Pelly, respectively. Moore is with Michael Greene & Assoc. and Management 360; Reid with Kritzer, Levine, Wilkins Griffin.

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Global Broadcast Plans For Royal Wedding

Broadcast For Royal Wedding Could Be 3D As Well As High-Def
Lifetime Readies Prince William-Kate Middleton Movie

Planning for Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton is still at an early stage – despite the wedding taking place on April 29th. The BBC is expected to lead TV coverage of the event, which may well be the most watched in TV history with an estimated 2.5 billion viewers expected to tune in globally. (Over 750 million tuned in to watch Prince Charles marry Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.) The BBC will definitely be filming next April’s wedding in high-definition. Now the Beeb has started thinking about filming the Royal Wedding in 3D as well as BSkyB. All broadcasters, including U.S. networks, will be jostling each other out of the way for best advantage along the route. Middleton will travel from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace in a glass coach. But it’s inside the Abbey, where space is at a premium, that the BBC will feed footage to other networks. “In order to avoid a bun-fight, you have one production crew which produces the event for TV and then everybody draws on the feed,” says one insider.

It is unclear yet whether Royal Wedding footage will be made freely available. The assumption is that U.S. broadcasters will be charged for pool footage from inside Westminster Abbey. That’s what happened with Prince William and Kate’s engagement interview on November 16. ITN filmed it and sold it internationally with revenue going to Prince William and Prince Harry’s charitable foundation. Overseas broadcasters were charged $2,350 for each minute of footage. Other countries charge for TV footage to state events. U.S. networks paid more than $5 million for the rights to show events surrounding President Obama’s inauguration in 2009. HBO paid $2.5 million, ABC $2 million and MTV over $500,000 to cover inauguration balls live. French TV broadcaster France 2 has exclusive TV rights to this summer’s July 2 wedding of Monaco’s Prince Albert – although it paid less than the 400,000 euros ($545,000) Monaco had been asking for.

UK cinema chains including Vue and Cineworld are keen to show the event live. Screening it in 3D would be even better. Tim Richards, CEO of Vue, tells me he’s waiting to hear which broadcaster will be leading coverage. Vue has nearly 700 movie screens. Richards says: “From all the research we’ve done, there’s huge pent-up demand to see the Royal Wedding live on 3D. The quality of the transmission means that it really does feel as if you’re there. Obviously nothing beats having front row seats in Westminster Abbey, but this would be the next best thing.” The idea is that watching the Royal Wedding live with around 300 other people will pack an emotional punch that watching it on TV at home just won’t have. Read More »

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Lifetime Readies Prince William-Kate Middleton Movie For The Royal Wedding

Nellie Andreeva

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s November engagement has triggered a slew of magazine stories, biographies and TV specials. Now Lifetime is jumping on the Royal Wedding bandwagon with William & Kate, an original movie about the young couple and their modern-day fairytale romance. Nico Evers-Swindell (Edge of Darkness) has been cast as Prince William and Ben Cross (Star Trek) as his father, Prince Charles, in the movie, which has been fast-tracked to premierearound William and Kate’s April 29 wedding. (The role of Kate is yet to be cast.) Production is expected to be begin on Feb. 10.

William & Kate chronicles the relationship between Prince William, second in line to the throne of the British monarchy, and Kate Middleton, the stunning daughter of upper middle-class commoners, from the moment the two met at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, through the ups and downs of their nine-year courtship complicated by social and Royal Family pressures, and the intense global media attention surrounding their upcoming storybook nuptials. The film will be produced by The Konigsberg Co., with Frank Konigsberg (Lifetime’s Sex & Lies in Sin City) serving as executive producer. Mark Rosman (Ghost Whisperer) will direct from a screenplay by Nancey Silvers (Lifetime’s Sundays at Tiffany’s). Evers-Swindell is with Fortitude and Authentic.

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Broadcast Plans For British Royal Wedding: Could It Be 3D TV As Well As High-Def?

Here’s the game-changer: BSkyB is thinking about broadcasting the April 29th Royal Wedding in 3D. TV experts wonder if Prince Williams’ wedding to commoner Kate Middleton might be the technology boost that the Queen’s 1953 Coronation was when many England’ers bought their first TV sets to watch that royal spectacle. And it may be that people worldwide do the same thing for this wedding and 3D. Sales of 3D TV sets in the U.S. have been modest so far. (Screen Digest predicts there will be only 4.7 million 3D TV sets installed in the U.S. by the end of 2011.) If Sky does go ahead with 3D then it will feed those signals to its international news affiliates. But BBC Vision boss Jana Bennett sounds pretty unenthused about the prospect of the BBC filming in 3D though — “although I can see an archive argument,” she tells me.

The Beeb will definitely be filming next April’s wedding in high-definition. TV technology consultant Chris Forrester thinks that broadcasters will use the Royal Wedding to promote HD to those who haven’t yet upgraded to HDTV sets/receivers.

UK broadcasters will be hoping for record viewing figures in what could be the most watched TV event in history. A total of 28.4 million British viewers tuned in to watch Prince Charles marry Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. Over 750 million tuned in worldwide to see that wedding dress trail up the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral. Media outlets … Read More »

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