Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Royal wedding creates a flurry of TV programming

Dale Roe, On TV

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Call it the royal wave.

Broadcast and cable networks have scheduled extensive coverage in advance of the 11 a.m. London time (that's 5 a.m. here, folks) wedding of England's Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday.

In spite of a stuttering economy and dwindling resources for networks, big-name news correspondents including Brian Williams, Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper, Katie Couric and Soledad O'Brien will be shipped (or, I guess, flown) across the pond to deliver reports leading up to and during the event. CNN alone has at least 125 reporters covering the wedding, according to the Los Angeles Times.

If the networks' temperature is fevered, it might be justified: U.K. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said 2 billion globally could watch William and Kate tie the knot.

Still, it seems as if there's a lot of bandwagon — er, carriage — jumping taking place. Infamous "D-List" comic and reality star Kathy Griffin is set to host a one-hour special for TV Guide Network. The Game Show Network has slated a royal wedding-themed week for its "Newlywed Game" reboot. Joan Rivers is broadcasting live from Buckingham Palace for E! and hosting a special royal wedding edition of her snarky "Fashion Police" takedown (I can hear her now: "I've seen better trains on a Monopoly board!").

Food Network is tying in its hundreds of cake shows, and TLC is all over dress-related matters. The Disney Channel, of course, has slated a princess movie marathon. CMT will air 22 episodes of "My Big Redneck Wedding."

And they call us "ugly Americans."

Even the Weather Channel is getting in on the act: For some inexplicable reason, Al Roker is headed to merrie olde England to tell us the temperature. Here's a hint, Al: Royal weddings are hot.

In spite of all these tenuous tie-ins and the hundreds of hours of themed programming that already have taken place, there are going to be some royal wedding junkies who just can't get enough (if you're one of them, there's a pretty comprehensive guide at www.watchtheroyalwedding.com). With that in mind, we're offering up some other programs that could take advantage of the event to boost their ratings:

"Minute 2 Win It." Host Guy Fieri leads contestants Kate and William in a series of physical challenges using household items — but the house is Buckingham Palace. In one game, Kate has 30 seconds to stack five golden crowns upon William's head, where they must remain balanced for four seconds. In another, the pair uses jewel-encrusted scepters to bat pingpong balls across a Sevres porcelain table (which was made for Napoleon), off the head of a commoner and into ivory tankards from the Grand service, first used to celebrate the birthday of George III in 1811. The most exciting challenge is making a notoriously stoic Buckingham Palace guard laugh using only paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin and Canaletto, sculpture by Canova and the finest English and French furniture.

"Man v. Food." Adam Richman visits the Wobknobbly Hobblecob, an obscure pub in Wigan, where he meets 1999 world pie-eating champ Barry Rigby and attempts to devour "The Churchill" — a hodgepodge of bangers and mash, black pudding, shepherd's pie and jellied eels baked into the world's largest crumpet.

"American Idol." British former judge Simon Cowell returns for a theme week in which all the contestants must perform songs by Prince. The hopefuls finally get some useful and much-needed criticism, but Simon reserves his harshest barbs for pandering panelists Steven Tyler and J-Lo.

"Survivor." Hey, Great Britain's an island, right?

"Desperate Housewives." Do you know what would really spice things up on Wisteria Lane? Kate, Camilla and Fergie joining Bree, Lynette, Susan and Gabrielle. Especially Fergie.

"The Event." If this show's titular occurrence were the royal wedding, it would serve two purposes: a great surprise twist and a quick ending.

"The Bachelor." Brad Womack travels to London and tells Prince William that he should not marry Kate until the couple has spent quality time rappelling, spelunking, shooting a public service announcement for the American Red Cross, rappelling some more, swimming with sharks, riding in a dozen helicopters and rappelling. The couple breaks up because Kate refuses to follow William back to Austin.

droe@statesman.com; 912-5923

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to corrected the time the royal wedding takes place.