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ROYAL WEDDING: Too, too, too much!
April 28, 2011  | By Diane Werts
How much TV coverage of a royal wedding can one country stand?

Americans are finding out -- with Friday's marriage of the UK's WIlliam Who Would Be King and his betrothed Commoner Catherine -- the answer to that question is "saturation."

OK, I get live as-it-happens satellite coverage on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Or news channels like CNN and MSNBC. Even PBS, with its raging Anglophilia. And obviously, BBC America. Obviously, Wedding Central.

But do we need live nuptials on TLC, home of Extreme Couponing? Or the little-seen Reelz Channel, so desperate for attention that it recently pulled History's discard miniseries The Kennedys out of the trash bin?

There's even live wedding coverage in Spanish on Univision, Telemundo and public TV's V-me.


Lest we forget, technology also enables online live streams from the BBC, Wedding Central, most of the networks, and YouTube's Royal Channel. There's even E's embeddable stream, so you can gawk while Facebooking with your friends. Watch on your mobile device with myriad apps. Follow Twitter streams. Gather in Times Square for TLC's public viewing party.

Or tune in later Friday for extended post-wedding recaps from (and these are only the ones we've actually confirmed) ABC, CBS, NBC, E!, WE, TLC, BBC America, Reelz, Wedding Central, and -- thankfully -- TV Guide Network's 8 p.m. ET presentation of Kathy Griffin's Insightful and Hilarious Take on the Royal Wedding.


Yes, finally, please, some snark to put this overkill in its place.

American TV has gone overboard, undersea, into some farflung outer space orbit over this celebration in a social class our country's founders couldn't wait to get out from under. Blame insane competition among some 300 cable channels desperate to lure eyeballs, now being offered a live event that both rarely takes place and is cheap to present. And what a marketing opportunity for advertisers seeking to sell to wedding-crazed overspenders whose commercial defenses go down as their eyes well up.

In fact, we have gone so psycho Stateside over this royal wedding thing, the Nielsen rating company reports that Americans have outpaced the Brits and the ex-Brit Aussies in our share of news coverage. (The Brits remain ahead in greater overall consumer buzz.)

How much coverage of actually-important-in-our-lives current affairs could have been afforded by the money being lavished to cover one couple's marriage ceremony? How many axed network news employees could have stayed on the payroll?

And why are we the public paying any kind of attention to all this mostly giddy, vapid, speculative, repetitive babble?

It's like some kind of weird let's-forget-about-the-real-world fever has overtaken the land. Or maybe it's the daydream of spending some adult time in the kind of fairy tale universe with which we've managed to indoctrinate our pretty-in-pink daughters over the last few decades -- that lost "princess" generation, where girls needn't nurture any skills or ambitions, just sit around looking pretty and waiting to be handed all the wonders of life in a glass slipper.

So I won't be awakening Friday at (or before) the crack of dawn to wallow in wedding twaddle. I'm sure I'll run across a nice news digest sometime later in the day, which should be quite enough to put this inconsequential event in perspective.

And if, of course, I ever change my mind -- there's always royal wedding DVDs.




Davey said:

Thanks for a refreshing sneer appropriate to the royal trivia. Gotta hand it to the Nation of Shopkeepers, though. They sure know how to turn nothing-at-all into a prime commodity. I imagine the tourism, tsotchke, and media income will more than pay off their national debt.

As to meself, I have enough tv stuff recorded to get through the crisis, but wonder when I can safely turn on NPR again.

Eileen said:

Finally, a voice of reason.

Coverage is just beyond the pale. I am surprised no backlash from the Brits since the unemployment rate there is equal to the US, if not higher. And yet a reported $48 million in British taxpayer dollars is being spent on this spectacle. And, by the way, what do the "Royals" do for a living? From the queen on down, they just seem to hang around.

Being Irish I'm more than a little prejudiced, but really... There is so much going on in the world that it makes little sense to me to hone in on this overly lavish display.

Besides, I'll be really surprised if these two are together in 10 years. Like those before her, she'll get sick of the royals and all the attention and not being able to cross the street without a mob scene.

I would love the American taxpayer reaction if the Bushes or Clintons had expected their daughter's wedding to be paid for on the public dole.

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