The test for true royal wedding watchers -- a 4:30 a.m. start
If by now you haven't received your gold-engraved invitation to the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, it is time to resign yourself to the fact that you are probably not one of the world's social elite.
But you don't have to be electronically ostracized as well -- if you are willing to wake up next Wednesday around 5 a.m. New York time, or perhaps stay up next Tuesday till past 2 a.m. California time.
Probably close to 1 billion viewers will be witnessing the pomp and circumstances on international television. (It is estimated that half a billion witnessed the marriage of Princess Anne to Mark Phillips in 1973.)
Aside from all the specials on independent stations scheduled earlier in the week, network coverage really begins in earnest on Monday and Tuesday, with the Wednesday wedding day coverage beginning at 4:30 a.m. New York time (remember, there's a five-hour time difference between London and New York). If you are willing to settle for just the wedding ceremony at St. Paul's, tuning in by 5:45 a.m. Wednesday should do it.
Here's how the major coverage stacks up specifically -- all of it subject to change as weather and political conditions demand. If the round of rioting should still be going on in English cities, many of the wedding plans may be changed at the last minute by Scotland Yard security experts. For now the plan is to have three carriage processions to St. Paul's Cathedral before the noon ceremonies, starting at around 10 a.m. London time (about 5 a.m. N.Y. time) -- the first procession with the Queen and other members of the royal family; the second with Prince Charles, traveling alone from Buckingham Palace; the third with Lady Diana and her entourage. ABC
Monday, 7-9 a.m.: "Good Morning, America" originates live from London for the entire week. Robert Morley will be guest commentator.
Tuesday, 8-9 p.m.: A Royal Wedding Preview, anchored by Barbara Walters and Peter Jennings, featuring highlights of a Grand Concert and a fireworks display in Hyde Park.
Wednesday, 5-11 a.m.: Special six-hour version of "Good Morning, America," with Barbara Walters and Peter Jennings anchoring the coverage.
Wednesday, 9-10 p.m.: News special recapping pageantry and drama, anchored by Ms. Walters and Jennings. CBS
Tuesday, 11:30 p.m.-midnight: Advance look at royal wedding special.
Wednesday, 5-10 a.m.: Processions, ceremony, final appearance, etc. Live coverage of departure for honeymoon, telecast later in the morning. The wedding coverage will be anchored by Dan Rather from a rooftop position overlooking the entrace to St. Paul's. He will be joined by David Frost and Lady Antonia Fraser.
Wednesday, 8-9 p.m.: Highlights of the day's events. NBC
Monday through Friday, 7-9 a.m.: "Today" show will feature the wedding all week long.
Tuesday, 10-11 p.m.: NBC News Special Report -- an update on the wedding preparations with John Chancellor and Peter Ustinov.
Wednesday, 4:30-7 a.m.: A special live-from-London broadcast with NBC correspondents Chancellor, Tom Brokaw, and Jane Pauley, along with Willard Scott and Eric Burns. Experts providing extra coverage include Ustinov, Robert Lacey, Sir Huw Wheldon, Tina Brown. PBS
Wednesday, 8-11 p.m.: Three hours of highlights, which will be essentially BBC film coverage, with additional material produced by WGBH, Boston. Only around 50 PBS-affiliated stations have agreed to carry this coverage, so check your local station to see if it has signed up, and better check the time it will runs as well. Cable News Network
For viewers connected to a able system that offers CNN, Kathleen Sullivan will be bringing viewers almost continuous live coverage throughout the day by satellite, interspersed among regular news features. Radio
And then there is that little old box called radio. first choice would be the BBC, if you can get it on your shortwave bands. BBC plans minute-by-minute coverage throughout the day. Among the American networks, NBC especially plans extensive coverage throughout the week, as well as throughout the wedding day. Most all-news stations will be trying to supplement TV network co verage, too.