News Articles

A Royal Flush

Syndie mags get set for the pomp and profits of England’s princely nuptials 3/28/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

Syndication's entertainment magazines are busily
gearing up for the event of the decade. It isn’t the Oscars, a
scandalous celebrity break-up or anything to do with Charlie
Sheen. It isn’t even happening in Hollywood.

It’s the royal wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, and it’s
taking place in London on Friday, April 29.

“This will be the most-watched television event in history,” says
Linda Bell Blue, executive producer of CBS Television Distribution’s
Entertainment Tonight and The Insider. “This is going to out-do the
Super Bowl.”

“You do these shows for economic reasons,” says Rob Silverstein,
executive producer of NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood and Access
Hollywood Live
. “Every time you do a story on the royals, it does well
in the ratings.”

The big four entertainment-focused syndie mags—ET, The Insider,
Access Hollywood and Extra—have spent weeks prepping to cover the
happy event. Producers have flown over to London to check out the
venues and have sought out the most connected insiders to comment
on all the parties and parades.

ET and The Insider have secured two popular British actresses to
help the sister shows get the dishiest scoop. Jane Seymour, a close
friend of ET host Mary Hart, will serve as the show’s special correspondent,
while Sharon Osbourne will take a break from CBS’ The Talk to
work with The Insider. Both shows will start
broadcasting from London on Friday, April 18
and will stay in town until May 2 or 3.

“Jane knows the royal family, she knows the
queen and she’s an officer of the Order of the
British Empire,” says Bell Blue. “Jane’s already
talked to Prince William’s private secretary,
and she’s been approved to talk to a few people
that William is close to.”

Osbourne will be providing a bit more of a
down-and-dirty look at London in the days
leading up to the nuptials. “Man, is she a
hoot,” says Bell Blue. “She knows everybody.
She’ll take us around London. We’ll go pubcrawling
with her.”

One of the biggest parties of the week will
take place at the Hansom Cab, a pub that
CNN’s Piers Morgan bought in December with
his wife, Celia Walden. All four of the magazine
shows plan to spend some time at Piers’
pub, although only Extra will have Walden on
board as a correspondent.

Also joining Mario Lopez, who already has
an invitation to go drinking with Morgan, will
be Darren Lyons, who is referred to as Mr. Paparazzi
because he’s been taking tricky shots of
British celebs for years. “He’s known the boys
since they were kids and he knew Princess
Diana,” says Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey, Extra
senior executive producer.

Extra will also work with Simon Cowell’s ex, Teri Seymour, along
with having occasional chats with Simon himself. And while most
of the official coverage will happen at designated press sites at Buckingham
Palace and Westminster Abbey, Extra will host a more casual
set at Trafalgar Square, much like what the show does at Los Angeles’
The Grove shopping complex.

NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live are
packing up to cover the event, although those two shows plan to
focus mostly on Kate. “Who cares about the groom when you have a
bride like that?” Silverstein says.

Billy Bush and Kit Hoover, cohosts of Access Hollywood Live, will
do a daily live show in London during the week before the wedding.
Access Hollywood is also tapping the expertise of former NBC correspondent
Tim Vincent, who now lives in London.

American audiences may be even more excited about Kate and
William’s big day than the Brits themselves, says Extra’s Gregorisch-Dempsey: “Everybody over here is talking about the royal wedding—
nobody in London is really talking about it,” Gregorisch-Dempsey
says. “They are more interested in the way Americans are going to
cover it. I mean, it’s not Diana.”

E-mail comments to palbiniak@gmail.com
and follow her on Twitter: @PaigeA

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