NEW YORK (AP) — Television viewers will be able to see hours on hours of programming tied to this spring’s royal wedding before Prince William and Kate Middleton even approach Westminster Abbey for their big day.
A Lifetime movie, a show that brings wedding fanatics from the U.S. over to London and a TLC special on hoarders of royal memorabilia are all in the works. These run-up shows are in addition to the anticipated exhaustive coverage of the April 29 wedding itself by news programs.
"It’s wedding fever here," said Perry Simon, general manager of BBC Worldwide Americas. "All wedding, all the time."
There’s no surprise that the American offshoot of the British Broadcasting Corp. would try to own the story in the weeks leading up to the nuptials. BBC America has already aired two specials, "William & Kate: Modern Monarchy" and "Modern Monarchy: Here and There," and will air them again.
The network is also working to acquire up to a half dozen other specials, including ones on Princess Diana, another on her two sons and one on royal lineage.
BBC America’s biggest push will be for "Royally Mad," a two-part series led by "So You Think You Can Dance" host Cat Deeley, which premieres April 12. The show finds four royal wedding fanatics who have never been out of the U.S. and takes them to London to visit people and places that play a part in the wedding story.
"We wanted to do a combination of programming that took an affectionate look at the wedding but could also have a sense of humor," Simon said. He wants to examine what the event means from both the American and British perspectives.
Simon was working in NBC’s entertainment department when William’s father, Prince Charles, married Diana in 1981 and remembered the attention paid to the event.
"It took us all by surprise," he said. "We thought there would be some interest, but we had no idea how much interest there would be. These kinds of events are once-in-a-generation. The royal family is unique."
In the week leading up to the wedding, the TLC network will air a series of programs. One special will tell the story of India Hicks, who was one of Princess Diana’s bridesmaids. She tells stories about what that day was like.
The special on extreme collecting of royal memorabilia is another highlight of TLC’s programming plans. Archived footage and interviews with the royal family will be rolled out in separate shows.
Lifetime, known for its signature romantic movies, has commissioned "William & Kate." The movie chronicles their courtship, from the moment they met and when a friendship turned into romance, with the unique difficulties that go into dating a member of the royal family. Nico Evers-Swindell and Camilla Luddington portray the couple in the movie, which doesn’t have an air date yet but will be seen in April.
The tiny Wedding Central network, an offshoot of WE that is seen in only 3.5 million homes, has ordered a documentary it boldly calls "William & Kate: The Wedding of the Century." The special, the first piece of original programming the network has made, will talk to designers, cake makers, wedding planners and experts to hear their vision of the day.