The British media is having a field day with Prince William and Kate Middleton’s engagement announcement.
The couple’s anticipated spring 2011 wedding is already being projected overseas as “The TV event of the year,” and according to The Hollywood Reporter, their nuptials could garner the biggest television audience “in history.” Yes — bigger than Charles and Diana’s wedding telecast 30 years ago which attracted over one billion viewers.
UK broadcasters are changing their entire schedules to cover the news. THR reports The BBC will replace its evening line-up at 7:30 with William & Kate: A Royal Engagement and a news special at 11:20 pm, while Sky News plans to air William And Kate: A Royal Wedding.
Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, networks are rushing to cobble together specials. ‘Nightline‘ has already announced plans for ‘Nightline: A Very British Wedding,’ which is set to air tonight. CNN has been updating their coverage all morning, claiming we are “lost in the iconography” of such a monumental event.
But are we? In 1981 it seemed the world stopped for Charles and Diana’s wedding. But can William and Kate, who have previously been the recipients of little attention and fanfare stateside, have the same effect on American viewers? Do they have the same marquee value?
There is a quote from last week’s episode of ‘The Office‘ which seems oddly prescient in light of this media frenzy. As Dunder Mifflin’s finest gather around to watch the police apprehend the Scranton Strangler, Jim jokes, “Some events are so newsworthy, so historic, that you have to stop everything to watch. Balloon Boy. Michael Jackson’s funeral. Things that if you didn’t see them live, you wouldn’t really care if you didn’t see them at all.”
Tell us: Will you watch their wedding? Do you think it will generate as big an audience, if not bigger, than Charles and Diana?