After all the bad news -- the economy, jobless rates, poor housing sales,
layoffs and world events such as the horrific earthquake and tsunami in Japan
-- the television networks are banking on Americans wanting to watch something
with a happy ending. Even if it does air at 3 a.m. Friday.
That "happy ending" would be the fairy-tale romance come true of 30-year-old Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales taking 29-year-old commoner Miss Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton as his bride on Friday.
The nuptials are set for 11 a.m. London time -- that's 5 a.m. Tulsa time. An audience of 2 billion is expected to be watching.
For those baby boomers who rose at something like 3 a.m. in July 1981 to watch Prince Charles marry Diana Spencer in the early days of cable TV, there are many more ways to watch this time around.
The networks will all have live coverage, as will numerous cable channels, plus the official YouTube royal wedding channel will be streaming the event live with commentary by members of the royal household.
BBC America is planning a commercial-free simulcast of the event with immediate repeats of the coverage.
There are even apps from the Associated Press and CNN, to name two sources, and a live viewing party planned for Times Square in New York City set up by cable channel TLC.
That doesn't count all those wedding-related specials that will lead up to and follow the royal event.
I'm thinking: DVR (my digital video recorder). Didn't have that back in '81.
Friday's TV coverage
NBC, channel 2, cable 9 -- 3-6 a.m. with additional coverage on the "Today" show through 11 a.m. Ann Curry will look back at the wedding on a two-hour "Dateline" at 8 p.m.
CBS, channel 6 -- Katie Couric will anchor from London beginning at 3 a.m. with coverage continuing with Erica Hill on the "Early Show" through 10 a.m. Couric will also host the highlight show "The Royal Wedding: Modern Majesty" at 8 p.m.
ABC, channel 8 -- Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer will anchor live coverage starting at 3 a.m. followed by "Good Morning America" with Robin Roberts live from 6-9 a.m. from Westminster Abbey. The network will also air a special two-hour edition of "20/20" at 8 p.m. looking back at the day's events.
PBS, channel 11 -- Live coverage from Westminster Abbey starting at 2 a.m. and continuing through 7:30 a.m.
CNN, cable 41 -- Brit Piers Morgan and Anderson Cooper will host coverage starting at 3 a.m. with an assist from Cat Deeley, Richard Quest and Kiran Chetry.
MSNBC, cable 50 -- Martin Bashir and Chris Jansing will provide live coverage starting at 2 a.m. followed with continuing coverage at 4 a.m.
E!, cable 60 -- Guiliana Rancic will report live from London for "The Royal Wedding" from 3 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a rebroadcast of "Inside the Royal Wedding" at 5 p.m.; the special "Will and Kate: Road to the Altar" at 8 p.m.; and the "Fashion Police" will take on royal style at 9 p.m.
BBC America, cable 176, Dish Network 135, DirecTV 264 -- A direct simulcast 2 a.m.-2:30 p.m. with a rebroadcast of highlights 2:30-4 p.m. followed by wedding highlights through 4 a.m.
Fox News Channel, cable 52 -- Shepard Smith and Martha MacCallum anchor live coverage from Buckingham Palace starting at 3 a.m. with commercial-free
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