When an American TV actress marries a British prince, you know television is going to expect a seat, preferably on the bride’s side, and with a good view.
You’ll need to get up a bit early on Saturday to see Meghan Markle exchange vows with Prince Harry in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor, and ridiculously early to catch all the preliminaries. The ceremony is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. EDT, but early birds CBS, CNN, and BBC America — which is simulcasting Britain’s BBC One — are starting their live coverage at 4 a.m., followed by PBS at 4:15; NBC at 4:30; ABC, MSNBC, TLC, and E! Entertainment at 5; and Fox News Channel at the relatively civilized hour of 6 a.m.
Remembering that we fought a war not to care about such things, you could also choose to stay in bed and catch the highlights that evening. CBS will air a roundup special at 8 p.m., and ABC’s 20/20 will recap memorable moments at 10.
TV’s wedding celebration started days ago, but if you’re looking to catch up, there are nightly PBS specials (10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 10:30 p.m. Friday, WHYY12), and you can watch Today show anchors Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie take a carriage ride tracing the royal route in Inside the Royal Wedding: Harry and Meghan (10 p.m. Wednesday, NBC).
Not everything, though, has to be about who made the cake and who curtseys (or doesn’t) to the queen:
Hosts with the most: If you’re watching strictly for the commentary, you’ll want the best, and how could that not be Cord Hosenbeck (Will Ferrell) and Tish Cattigan (Molly Shannon)? The celebrated Rose Parade commentators go international in The Royal Wedding Live with Cord and Tish! and wedding coverage may never be the same. Watch it: 7:30 a.m. Saturday, HBO, repeating at 9:45 p.m.
Trial run: For those who can’t wait to see Markle in a wedding dress, there’s the recent finale of her USA legal drama Suits, in which her character, Rachel Zane, gets suited up in white to marry the love of her fictional life, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams). (Suits creator Aaron Korsh, who grew up in Melrose Park and graduated from Penn’s Wharton School, is believed to have received an invitation to Markle’s real wedding, according to the Hollywood Reporter.) Watch it: On Demand.
Open-and-shut case: GSN will rerun its January special Cover Story: The Prince and the Game Show Model, tied to Markle’s 2006-07 appearances as a briefcase model on NBC’s Deal or No Deal. The game-show network is also repeating some of Markle’s episodes this week. Watch it: The special is at noon Friday; individual episodes at 11 a.m. through Friday.
Knot quite the same thing: Digging up Markle’s game-show past might seem like a stretch, but the prize for the network that’s traveled the farthest to tie itself to the royal wedding goes to Cozi TV. The nostalgia channel will air the two-part wedding episode of The Nanny on the night before the prince and Markle tie the knot. It’s touting the marriage of nanny Fran Fine (Fran Drescher) and her employer, Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy), as the “wedding of an American bride and a British aristocrat.” Why? Because in 2007, long after the show ended, Shaughnessy inherited the title Baron Shaughnessy upon the death of a second cousin. Watch: 7 p.m. Friday.
Romance on repeat: If you missed Lifetime’s Mother’s Day premiere of the made-for-TV movie Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance — starring Murray Fraser (The Loch) and Parisa Fitz-Henley (Midnight, Texas) as the title characters — it will be rerun. It’s cheesy enough in places to be paired with a nice California red, and it’s unlikely most of the royals would recognize themselves in it, but there are some genuinely touching moments. (or maybe that was just something in my eye?) Watch it: Midnight Wednesday, 6 p.m. Thursday, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Lifetime; and 8 p.m. Sunday, Lifetime Movie Channel.
Guess she read the handbook: Didn’t get an invitation to any post-wedding festivities? The Hallmark Channel has you covered. At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, it will rerun one of Markle’s two Hallmark movies, 2016’s Dater’s Handbook, in which she plays a woman who consults a self-help book for help in finding the right guy. At 9 that night, it premieres Royally Ever After, which does not star Markle but which is one of those movies about a woman who falls for a guy, never dreaming that he’s a prince from a small country no one can find on a map. Unlike, say, Great Britain.
Wide-screen wedding: The streaming service BritBox is sponsoring a Fathom Events movie theater presentation of 3½ hours of royal wedding coverage by Britain’s ITV. But will there be tea? Watch it: 10 a.m. Saturday. See fathomevents.com for participating theaters.
Name that toff: Most of us won’t see it, but viewers of Britain’s Sky News streaming coverage may learn the identities and some background on wedding guests through the use of a facial-recognition program developed in conjunction with Amazon.com, reports the Washington Post.