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From Southern Storms to Royal Wedding, a Friday Night of News

The broadcast networks devoted a significant chunk of time last night to news programs. CBS produced an hour on the Royal Wedding at 8pm, while NBC and ABC went head-to-head with two hour specials from 9-11pm. The first hour of “Dateline” was anchored by Brian Williams and was devoted almost entirely to the storms in the south, while ABC’s 2-hour “20/20″ was devoted almost entirely to the Royal Wedding.

“20/20″ drew 6.7 million total viewers and a 1.6 rating/5 share in A18-49. The Barbara Walters-hosted special drew 1.8 million more viewers than “Dateline” and by +33% in the A18-49 demo.

“20/20′s” second hour, which included a report from Jim Avila in storm-ravaged Alabama, saw its audience grow in Total Viewers and was #1 at 10pm in the A18-49 demo.

Hats, Titles, Tiaras and Two Kisses: Coverage of the Coverage of the Royal Wedding

Some of the coverage of the coverage of this morning’s Royal Wedding. We’ll add more stories as they come in.

  • Associated Press, David Bauder: [Katie] Couric wore a striking pink jacket for what is likely her last major news event at CBS (she’s stepping down as anchor in the coming weeks). She looked comfortable in a setting that reflected her time on morning television at the “Today” show and allowed her to flash some irreverence.
  • Daily News, Richard Huff: The coverage rivaled the best of Super Bowl Sunday, when networks fill hours with fluff leading up to the game itself. Here, the game was the wedding, and this cute young couple was the Super Bowl.
  • TIME, James Poniewozik: On American TV news, for six-odd hours straight, it was a very British morning and a very happy one. Call that a case of unbalanced priorities or a well-deserved momentary escape from our troubles; but from the standpoint of the actual headlines of destruction at home (not to mention plenty of places abroad), that was a fairytale indeed.
  • The New York Times, Alessandra Stanley: ABC’s coverage evoked other royal memories as well. The network put Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters side by side in what looked like an anchor-booth version of the old Princess Diana and Camilla Parker-Bowles standoff. The two ABC stars co-anchored the event with the flinty smiles and clashing sensibilities of two women sharing the same man, or in this case rival super anchors sharing the same stage at what is sure to be one of the most highly rated ceremonies in television histor

Howard Kurtz will have more on the Royal Wedding coverage Sunday morning on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”


Covering the coverage of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton

Royal Wedding Viewer Guide: Where to Watch

Have you heard? There is some sort of wedding happening tomorrow.

Yes, the broadcast and cable news organizations are all planning coverage of the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton tomorrow morning, with most beginning at 4 AM.

TVNewser will be liveblogging the coverage starting at 4, so if you want to follow along, find out about all the coverage plans below.


NBC: Coverage starts at 4 AM ET, led by Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Brian Williams, Al Roker, Natalie Morales and Ann Curry from London. More coverage plans here.

ABC: Coverage starts at 4 AM ET, led by Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters from London. More coverage plans here.

CBS: Coverage starts at 4 AM ET, led by Katie Couric and Erica Hill from London. More coverage plans here.

Univision: Coverage starts at 3 AM ET, led by Chiquinquirá Delgado, Raúl González and Marián de la Fuente.

Cable News:

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Tornadoes Top Story on Morning Shows

The network morning shows are all in London to cover the Royal Wedding tomorrow, but breaking news back home was the top story.

All three programs led with the tornadoes and storms tearing through the south.

On NBC’s “Today,” Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer opened the program, then threw to Lester Holt in New York, who spent the next 11 minutes talking about the storms. That was followed by a discussion about President Obama releasing his birth certificate, before throwing back to Vieira and Lauer for wedding coverage at 7:16 AM.

ABC’s “Good Morning America” spent the first 11 minutes covering the tornadoes as well, with George Stephanopoulos anchoring from New York.

The CBS “Early Show” spent the first 10 minutes talking about the storms, before leading to a brief segment about Obama’s birth certificate, followed by the Royal Wedding.

A tipster notes that the death toll from the tornadoes is now higher than the death toll from the Oklahoma City Bombing, which drew more than 11 minutes of coverage at the top of the shows when it happened in 1995.

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Networks, Cablers Gearing Up For Royal Wedding

With the Royal Wedding less than 48 hours away (Note: TVNewser will be liveblogging the coverage starting at 4 AM on Friday), the networks and cablers are beginning to gear up for coverage.

CNN’s Piers Morgan gives a brief peek at CNN’s production tent near Buckingham Palace, while also explaining why he thinks he gives CNN’s coverage an edge that the other channel’s do not have

“This accent, and this face—as these security guys will tell you– is a free pass for me anywhere in London,” he says.

Elsewhere, NBC News’ international news director Chris Hampson tells The Hollywood Reporter that coverage of the Wedding is “our biggest international technical build-out ever.”

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Morning Shows invade U.K. for Royal Wedding Week

The American morning shows have invaded Great Britain. Coverage of Friday’s royal wedding, which really began over the weekend, kicked in to high gear today. The “Today” show’s Meredith Vieira was outside Buckingham Palace this morning while Natalie Morales reported live from the village of Buckleberry, Kate Middleton‘s hometown. Matt Lauer and Ann Curry were in New York, and Al Roker was on the road in Washington, DC for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

ABC’s Robin Roberts was live in Jubilee Gardens across from Big Ben along with GMA Weekend co-anchor Bianna Golodryga, ABC’s UK reporter Nick Watt and future ABC daytime host Tim Gunn.

“The Early Show” co-anchor Erica Hill was live outside the Tower of London while “American Morning” anchor Kiran Chetry was at CNN’s perch across from Buckingham Palace along with CNN’s analysts, “So You Think You Can Dance” host Cat Deely and British record producer Mark Saunders.

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, an Anglophile via his obsession with the Beatles and The Who, along with Mika Brzezinski and Willie Geist have also begun a week of shows in London.

> RelatedNew York Times: U.S. Networks Add Britons to Royal Wedding Coverage

Soledad O’Brien on ‘The Women who would be Queen’

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien kicks off a week of reports across all the network morning and evening shows and cable news networks leading up to Friday’s royal wedding.

In “The Women Who Would be Queen,” O’Brien explores how the future King and Queen, Prince William and Catherine Middleton have been influenced by the legacy of William’s mother, Princess Diana.

O’Brien talks with royals author Christopher Andersen: “Here’s this little boy when his mother locks herself in the bathroom after an argument with Charles, and she’s sobbing, and here’s little seven-year-old William slipping tissues under the door and saying, ‘I hate to see you sad, Mummy’ … so … he meets Kate and Kate exposes him to a happy family for the first time.”

Also featured in the documentary are interviews with Kate and William’s friends, as well as friends of Princess Diana and Ken Wharfe, a bodyguard for the royal family.

The special debuts tonight at 8pmET/PT and re-airs at 11pmET/PT.

Royal Wedding ‘Selected Guest List’ Revealed; NBC News correspondent on it

In addition to the 1,000 or so inside Westminster Abbey who will attend the wedding of Prince William and Cate Middleton on Friday, a Selected Guest List was revealed this morning. And on it, one man who works for an American TV network. From the official release:

Mr. Ben Fogle
Ben Fogle is best known as a travel writer, television presenter and adventurer and has met Prince William on a number of occasions.

TVNewser attended a get-together Thursday night welcoming Fogle to the NBC News family. He told us as he plans on running out the Abbey doors Friday morning to file a report for NBC as soon as he is able. In the official release, Fogle got higher billing than others on the selected guest list including, Sir Elton John, the Beckhams, Guy Ritchie and Joss Stone.

Will Viewers Flock to the Royal Wedding?

The broadcast and cable news organizations love the upcoming royal wedding, as it is news that will happen on a tight schedule, and it can be easily monetized by lining up sponsors that may not normally buy airtime.

Everyone from Fox News to CBS News to Bravo and Telemundo have wedding coverage plans.

Coverage of the wedding between Prince Charles and Princess Diana was enormous, so it is reasonable to think that there are enough Anglophiles to make coverage worthwhile for today’s networks. But in today’s New York Post, there are hints that perhaps interest is not as strong as originally believed.

“The US public’s interest was not what they thought,” sniped an NBC insider. “Kate and Prince William are both really boring.”

Ostensibly the story is about NBCUniversal scaling back its (enormous) coverage plans, but the more interesting angle concerns public interest in the wedding:

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