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23 Million Americans Watch Royal Wedding, Beating U.S. Audience For Charles And Di’s; UK Viewership Can’t Match 1981 Nuptials

By | Saturday April 30, 2011 @ 7:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE SATURDAY 7 PM: Almost 23 million viewers in the U.S. watched the coverage of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton from 6AM to 7:15AM ET on Friday across 11 networks. That outpaces the estimated 17 million who tuned in for Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding in 1981, which was carried by the Big 3 broadcast networks in the era before the proliferation of cable. According to Nielsen, the combined viewership for yesterday’s nuptials was 22.77 million on ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, BBC America, CNN, E!, FOX News, MSNBC and TLC. In households, the William-Kate wedding drew 18.6 million vs. 14.2 million for Charles-Diana. As for Charles’ wedding to Camila Parker Bowles in 2005, it was watched by 3.65 million viewers.

SATURDAY AM – Deadline’s London Editor Tim Adler reports: Nearly 27 million British TV viewers watched the Royal Wedding live, according to the three main broadcasters of Friday’s event. That is still fewer than the 28.4 million who watched the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana on BBC and ITV. The BBC peaked at 20 million viewers when Prince William and Kate Middleton exchanged vows; ITV peaked at 6 million; and Sky News at 661,000. Those watching on other channels –-  Channel 4 and Five –- made up only 1% of the Brit TV audience. The figures still put yesterday’s Royal Wedding among the top 10 of programs ever watched in the UK, although the 1966 World Cup final and Princess Diana’s 1997 funeral drew bigger audiences. Read More »

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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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ABC, Fox News Reveal Plans For Royal Wedding Coverage

Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters will anchor ABC’s live coverage of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton beginning at 4 AM ET on April 29, followed by a live West Coast edition of Good Morning America hosted by Robin Roberts live from Westminster Abbey. The wedding caps a bunch of Royal Wedding programming on the network, beginning April 18 with a Special Edition of 20/20: William & Catherine: A Modern Fairytale, anchored by Walters. Throughout the week leading up to the event, GMA, World News With Diane Sawyer, Nightline and 20/20 will broadcast from London.

On Fox News Channel, Shepard Smith and Martha MacCallum will anchor live coverage of the wedding beginning at 4 AM ET. The network’s programming leading up to the event will include the documentary Countdown to the Royal Wedding (April 24) and simulcasts of the UK’s Sky News (April 27-28).

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Katie Couric To Lead CBS’ Royal Wedding Coverage

By | Tuesday April 5, 2011 @ 11:27am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

While NBC’s extensive Royal Wedding coverage is spearheaded by the co-anchors of morning show Today, at CBS, it will be outgoing CBS Evening News anchor and former Today star Katie Couric who will lead the festivities, including live coverage of the event on Friday, April 29. Couric will also anchor a one-hour primetime special at 8 PM that night, airing against NBC’s special hosted by Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira.

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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’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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