The Royal Wedding 2018: How to Watch the Live TV Coverage of Harry and Meghan. A global 3-billion-strong expected viewing audience for Saturday’s wedding of Prince Harry to the former American actress, Meghan Markle, ought to settle any doubts about the British monarchy’s, and specifically, the Queen’s, staggering marketing power. Harry’s own proven popular touch, a legacy of his mother, and his unashamedly romantic “reaching down” (in British terms) for his bride into the commoner pools, and among Americans no less, have served only to increase this weekend’s broadcast mega-wattage. Something north of 20 million are expected to watch in the United States alone, and we’re just one former colony.
The Royal Wedding 2018: How to Game the Live Television Coverage.
For the purposes of this analysis, we’re taking the Big Three, plus MSNBC, Fox, and E!, in addition to the BBC livestream. (All times Eastern.)
To slake the global thirst that the proceedings bring, the Crown itself has afforded the BBC correspondents prime position, inside the Windsor Castle walls, with their booth situated on the roof of the Windsor Guard Room, no less. Their livestream is available in the States through BBC America. The American Big Three and the cable networks will have their boots on the ground at other allegedly exclusive locations, although in no such proximity to the proceedings.
Time: 4:15 a.m.
Hosts/Show: Kirsty Young, Huw Edwards, and Dermot O’Leary.
The go-to broadcast. No other broadcaster has been given their level of access to Windsor Castle on the day. But the main, refreshing thing about the BBC America livestream is that the BBC will not bother smacking you in the face with any of that nutty, sweaty urgency of American or other non-English Anglophiles because the BBC contributors, editors and presenters are definitely already British. It can help you and your party skirt a lot of the fawning found elsewhere. Instead, the BBC’s is the staunch ‘home view,’ in other words, the level of discourse that the British themselves have about their monarchy.
Time: 4:30 a.m.
Show/Host: PBS News Hour
This week’s five-part primetime broadcast series (in cooperation with the BBC) and the PBS coverage on Saturday will, also, hew to well-educated Anglophiles, approximately, the Poldark/Downton Abbey/Upstairs Downstairs fan set. Gold circle pins, cucumber sandwiches, hunting dogs, and crew-necked Shetland sweaters spoken fluently here. As the official Anglophile’s standard-bearers in America, the PBS correspondents will be reassuring, scholarly and, though perhaps a rung down from the BBC’s own, appropriately dry.
Time: 4 a.m.
Hosts: CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King, Entertainment Tonight co-host Kevin Frazier
Coverage begins at 4 a.m.on the network and as a stream. Of the Big Three, CBS has the most British broadcast DNA, with chief correspondent Edward R. Murrow’s long wartime residence in London, so if you’re surfing the majors, this is the network to watch. The reputable Gayle King and Kevin Frazier will anchor, joined by British journalist and erstwhile Diana biographer Tina Brown, whose professional acquaintance with the groom’s mother way back in the day should bring a quotient of the history-as-lived to the cast.
Time: 5 a.m.
Host: Ainsley Earhardt
Guests/Correspondents: Sandra Smith, Shepard Smith
Fox places high on this list for its sheer entertainment value, witting and unwitting. As we know, many of the parent company News Corp’s former London newspaper editors and employees have been found criminally liable for phone hacking, whose victims included members of the Royal Family. Adding to that extreme London-based corporate bumbling is the fact that live-wire anchor Shepard Smith can ‘go off’ at a moment’s notice on anybody or anything.
Time: 5 a.m.
Show/Hosts: Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts, World News Tonight anchor David Muir
The presence of World News Tonight’s David Muir will bring some welcome gravitas to the ABC offerings, and Robin Roberts is a citizen of good standing in the morning talks, so, after PBS, ABC does seem to be the surf-to when you might want some news. But the wedding isn’t news. We know what is going to happen. Verdict: worth checking in, but maybe don’t stay too long.
Hosts: The Today Show co-hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb
Hey, Matt, where are ya boy! Oh, right, the lugubrious Matt Lauer is no longer with us. The recently-reduced Today show begins its coverage at 4:30 a.m. Saturday with the relentlessly upbeat Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie. These two are already in Windsor and have been pictured by the network in a rented open landau carriage of the sort that Harry and Meghan will be taking adulation in on the long processional route after the ceremony.
Time: 4 a.m.
Host: Joy Reid
Guests/Correspondents: Stephanie Ruhle, Katy Tur
It’s a tough call as to why, exactly, MSNBC wants to go through this. Although the on-air talent, Joy Reid, Stephanie Ruhle, and Katy Tur are up to the job, the wedding just doesn’t seem quite the right kind of hot-button ‘issue’ to rate the cable network doing anything but having an item on it in a news wrap-up. In fact, Obama, Bush, Trump, and at last check, Jimmy Carter, are not attending.
Time: 5 a.m.
Hosts: Giuliana Rancic, Brad Goreski, Sarah Jane Crawford
Guests/Correspondents: Melanie Bromley
Relegated to the outer perimeters of the ‘reporting’ as well as a market sector, the network is flooding the zone with no less than four people, including ‘royal expert’ Melanie Bromley, and even plans what they’re calling a ‘Royal Wedding Rundown’ for Saturday night, for those of its viewers who didn’t manage it out of bed for the live betrothal. Look for: Arguably similar amounts of nuttiness as at Fox, but with more or less intentional froth. The E! on-air