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CNN Sending Eight Times More Staff to Royal Wedding Than to Japan


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  • CNN Sending Eight Times More Staff to Royal Wedding Than to Japan

    Thirty years ago this July, Lady Diana Spencer, dressed in a pale-ivory taffeta gown of pearls and crinoline with a 25-foot train, traveled from Buckingham Palace to St. Paul's Cathedral to marry Charles, Prince of Wales. At the time, it was the biggest live television event in history, watched by 750 million viewers world-wide.

    Compared with the crowd their son is expecting April 29, that's nothing.

    Very little will have changed about the ceremony itself—the pomp and circumstance hasn't evolved much in centuries—but there will be profound changes in how the proceedings will be recorded and consumed.

    An estimated two billion TV viewers will see all or part of the coverage of Prince William and his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton exchanging vows at Westminster Abbey. Add an expected 400 million for online streaming and radio and the number swells to nearly 35% of the world's population. An additional 800,000 observers likely will crowd outside Buckingham Palace the day of the event, many of them tweeting and Facebook posting and shooting video with their phones.

    In 1981, the U.S. was still largely a three-network nation. Cable was in its infancy, VCRs even younger. There was no Internet, virtually no cellphone technology, no social media. In the U.K. BBC1 began the wedding day with a "Tom and Jerry" cartoon. Tweets was the name of a band on the U.K. charts with a hit called "The Birdie Song."

    The explosion of new media options will be put on vivid display, even as the main event will still consist of chiming church bells, choreographed kisses and pastel feathered hats. For something that will take only six hours, broadcasters and cable channels are finding hundreds of ways to slice, dice and piggyback on the big event with reality shows, documentary specials, and at least two made-for-TV cable movies.

    Broadcast networks will air earnest documentaries about the monarchy; TLC will air 89 hours of programming that will include "Extreme Royal Collections," a variation on its popular "Hoarding" reality show dedicated to collectors of royal memorabilia. Wedding episodes of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" will air on E!

    The nature of this particular narrative helps. "It really is a Cinderella story and that hits the sweet spot of female audiences," says Barbara Walters, who covered Princess Diana's wedding and funeral for ABC and will spend a week in London ahead of the wedding to host "20/20" special "William & Catherine: A Modern Fairy Tale."

    Lady Di may have become an unrivaled star of the celebrity culture, but at this stage, Ms. Middleton is more accessible, says Ms. Walters. The 29-year-old brunette was dubbed "Waity Katie" by the British tabloids during the couple's long courtship, and beamed confidently in a royal-blue dress for a deluge of camera flashes during her Nov. 16 engagement announcement. Diana, by contrast, was an overwhelmed, unknown quantity. "She was barely 20. Charles was 32. She was a schoolgirl virgin," Ms. Walters says.

    TV wedding specialists—there are a surprising number—are over the moon. "On a scale of one to 10 in big TV events, this is a 10 plus, plus," says Kim Martin, president and general manager of WE tv and Wedding Central, cable channels reaching 76 million and 3.5 million homes, respectively. In the five days before the big event alone they'll air 109 hours of wedding-related shows including "How to Marry a Prince," a user's guide to nabbing a royal fiancé. (Hint: Do not sleep with the prince on the first date.)

    "William and Kate are celebrities to Americans. Prince Charles was perceived as a more stodgy kind of guy. But William is hip and cool. She's drop-dead gorgeous, and she's a commoner. It's that princess story we're always seeing in movies," she adds...

    etc. etc. etc. etc.
    Last edited by Carbonfiberfoot; 03-18-2011, 04:07 PM.

  • #2
    As much as I don't pay attention to other people's weddings its good to hear about something else aside Japan.
    Life is what you make of it


    • #3
      The wedding is a much safer place to be.
      Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
      Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein


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