To say the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton will be a massive media revelry is, at best, an understatement. Every major U.S. and international news organization and cable channel is jockeying for position to broadcast live the British couple's day of bliss.
Thirty years ago, Prince William's parents' wedding was the quintessence of royal watching. At the time, some 750 million people were said to have tuned in. This month, estimates of those who will be eyeing William and Kate tie the knot are as low as 1 billion viewers to as many as 2 billion. And it's happening in the middle of the night for U.S. royal watchers.
The hoopla will begin long before Kate, who will become Princess Catherine upon her marriage, arrives at Westminster Abbey at 11 a.m. local time on Friday. On the East Coast, plan to be in front of a TV or online at 4 a.m. to catch the pre-shows that start around 9 a.m. in London.
Cameras inside Westminster will be limited to eight news outlets from the U.K. and two international outlets, according to published reports. The BBC, of course, is one of them, but it's still unclear which others will be allowed.
But don't think you'll be able to channel surf to see different angles of the nuptials. The abbey says it will limit the number of cameras and their perches.
That's why you're seeing national news anchors from Barbara Walters, Brian Williams and Katie Couric to celebrity watchers like Giuliana Rancic, Ryan Seacrest and Joan Rivers broadcasting live from outside Buckingham Palace and along the route to and from Westminster Abbey this week.
When all the I-dos are said and done, there will be at least one impish take on the nuptials. Comedian Kathy Griffin will give her spin on the event on the TV Guide Network after spending five hours at home watching it live on multiple screens.
Here's a sample rundown of what to expect and how to see it:
"The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric," the "Early Show" and CBS "Sunday Morning" will all highlight the wedding before, during and after with at least 15 anchors and reporters, not to mention scores of camera and production crew.
Already, Barbara Walters, who's said to be a walking encyclopedia of all things royal, has offered a peek at the couple's legend with "Special Edition of 2 0/2 0: William & Catherine: A Modern Fairytale" that aired Monday night.
She'll be alongside anchor Diane Sawyer for live wedding-day coverage from Buckingham Palace that begins at 4 a.m. Eastern. After that, Robin Roberts will co-anchor a live West Coast edition of "Good Morning America" from outside Westminster Abbey.
All the details and up-to-date news are online at ABC's Royal Diary blog with an interactive family tree of the royals and a guestbook.
Brian Williams is anchoring "NBC Nightly News" from London and Martin Bashir is anchoring MSNBC's coverage from London.
"Dateline," "Weekend Today," "Weekend Nightly News," "Way Too Early," "Access Hollywood," E!, Telemundo and, yes, the Weather Channel too, are all broadcasting live from London. And there's an iPad app, The Royal Wedding by NBC News, available.
Shepard Smith and Martha McCallum are leading the coverage on game day, beginning at 4 a.m. Greta Van Susteren will weigh in and Gretchen Carlson and Jonathan Hunt will report from Westminster Abbey. Joan Lunden, former "Good Morning America host," will offer her thoughts, as will Paul Burrell, a former member of the British royal household and one-time butler to Diana.
FoxNews.com, like most of its competitors, dedicated a website page on the royal wedding.
Piers Morgan, a native Brit, is as pumped for the royal wedding as all of Green Bay was for the Super Bowl. He's a self-proclaimed "monarchist" because of his two decades-long association with the royals and has been a guest on any number of shows blabbering about the royal wedding since it was first announced in November.
He's been broadcasting his show from London all week and called the run-up to and live broadcast of the nuptials "ratings and circulation gold." In American-ese, that would be "two Super Bowls and an 'American Idol' finale" all in one, he said.
Anderson Cooper and Kiran Chetry also will broadcast live from London and Soledad O'Brien will host a documentary on Kate. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that CNN will have 400 staffers covering the wedding and compared it to the number of CNN staffers in Japan then, which was 50.
CNN began its coverage on April 2 with half-hour specials hosted by Richard Quest and will continue it till "Anderson Cooper 360" at 10 p.m. Friday. HLN's Brooke Anderson will co-anchor "Showbiz Tonight" from London, too.
TLC may have the most aggressive wedding coverage stateside, with 16 royal wedding-ish shows.
The royal wedding itself will be thoroughly examined in five separate programs beginning today, with "The Making of the Royal Wedding" through live coverage of the event to an encore that will last be shown on Sunday.
TLC also grabbed the jumbotrons in Times Square on the wedding day for a viewing party and will pay singer/songwriter Colbie Caillat to perform her new single "I Do."
*BBC and BBC America
There will be no channel, news organization or online site with more access and coverage than the BBC, which will carry 5.5 hours of live, commercial-free coverage on BBC America through a simulcast with BBC ONE, the flagship network. The coverage, which will be broadcast from within Westminster Abbey as well as every major royal site in London, begins at 3 a.m Eastern.
If you don't have access to BBC, no need to fret. The BBC.com will stream the wedding live beginning at 5:45 a.m. Eastern at www/bbc.com/royalwedding where you'll see the first glimpse of Kate's wedding dress to the moment the newly-weds greet the throngs of well-wishers from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.