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Television brings wedding pageantry to world
Television networks viewed the event as a respite, and the world’s woes rarely intruded upon their coverage. NBC’s top anchor Brian Williams was absent, however, after flying back to the United States before the wedding to anchor news coverage of the South’s deadly tornado outbreak.
Couric wore a striking pink jacket for what is likely her last major news event at CBS (she’s stepping down as anchor in the coming weeks). She looked comfortable in a setting that reflected her time on morning television at the “Today” show and allowed her to flash some irreverence. She reported about the queen conferring long new titles upon her grandson and his bride.
“What the heck does that mean?” she asked a dour-faced historian sitting beside her.
Her former NBC colleague, Matt Lauer, read the titles and joked that it was going to require “a business card seven and a half inches long. It’s going to be huge.” Befitting their status as American television’s most popular morning show, the “Today” team sat behind a desk decorated with their show’s name topped by a crown.
Brits brought on to the American networks were noticeably most excited by the event. ABC’s “royal correspondent” Katie Nicholl seemed heavily caffeinated next to Sawyer and Walters. Former London tabloid editor Piers Morgan, Larry King’s replacement in CNN’s prime time, was the centerpiece for the news network’s coverage.
“I actually got goose bumps,” Morgan said, noting that his 13-year-old son had just texted “happy wedding day” to him.
Fashion was a central focus as the royal guests arrived. Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith noted the tall blue perch of a woman who arrived at the abbey with a man who looked like actor Rainn Wilson of “The Office.”
“I don’t know where she got that hat, but you know it’s going to be a big seller,” said the jaunty Smith, who earlier adopted what seemed to be an exaggerated Winston Churchill impersonation in asking Steve Doocy to fill him in on the weather for “this royal morning here across the pond.”
On CNN, Morgan announced the breaking news update that soccer star David Beckham was wearing a Ralph Lauren suit.
“As am I,” broadcast partner Anderson Cooper interjected.
ABC’s team, seemingly armed with books full of facts, chatted about wedding trains worn by royal brides in the past. Brown noted the trouble that Williams’ mother, Princess Diana, had with the large headgear she wore for her wedding.
“The bridesmaids were told, time and time again, not to trod on the train,” she said.
CBS took a different approach to avoid much of the dead time of small talk as guests were arriving. It broke away for an extended look back at Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding in 1981.
Diana’s wedding provided an important backdrop to coverage in the former British colony of Hong Kong, where the wedding was telecast in the late afternoon and early evening.
“It is exactly because Princess Diana provided the first installment, people realized, `Oh, marrying into the royal family isn’t that great,’” Chip Tsao said on Hong Kong’s Cantonese-language Cable TV. “Firstly, now everyone wants to compare Prince William to his mother and secondly, people want to see if Kate will end up like her mother-in-law after becoming a duchess. There is a lot of suspense.”
By John R. Bolton
The president fiddles at his domestic altar while the world burns
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