Markle Mania is ramping up as Channel 4 becomes the latest broadcaster to hop on the royal wedding train. The UK broadcaster has commissioned a royal special from NBC Universal-backed production company Monkey, while Viacom-owned Channel 5 is getting in on the action as well as U.S. streaming service Britbox.
C4’s Markle Mania will see Amelia Dimoldenberg, the online sensation behind viral videos Chicken Shop Date, head to the U.S. to explore the Royal Wedding frenzy surrounding the upcoming nuptials of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
Dimoldenberg (left) will attempt to get herself invited to the wedding, which takes place on May 19 by working her way into the Markle clan. She will track down significant people from the Suits star’s past and meet members of her extended family as well as ask the question ‘what do the Americans really think of Meghan joining the Royal family?’.
The one-off doc was commissioned by Channel 4’s Head of Formats Dom Bird and Formats Commissioning Editor Jonny Rothery and is exec produced by Monkey’s David Granger and Ros Coward. Monkey is best known for producing reality series Made In Chelsea and has picked up a number of U.S. commissions over the years including Tour Group for Bravo.
Dimoldenberg said, “Exploring Meghan Markle’s America was a crazy journey for me. This is my first documentary for TV and I wasn’t sure how the Americans would take my style of humour. But I met some extraordinary people who welcomed me with open arms and strangely enough, now I feel like I almost know Meghan… so where’s my invite?”
Coward called Dimoldenberg “really exciting new comedy talent”. “Her journey through the States provides a sideways look at Meghan, her family and the country she is leaving behind for a life as a royal,” he added.
Elsewhere, a number of broadcasters and streaming services around the world are eyeing royal programming. I understand Viacom-owned Channel 5 has ordered one-off doc Diana to Meghan: Royal Wedding Secrets from its own in-house production division Elephant House Studios
BritBox, the U.S. streaming service owned by British firms BBC Studios and ITV, will be live-streaming the wedding after striking a deal to simulcast coverage from its parent broadcaster ITV. British presenters Phillip Schofield and Julie Etchingham will be hosting the live coverage for ITV from Windsor along with a lineup of royal experts, which be live-streamed on the SVOD platform. In addition to the live coverage, BritBox has commissioned two shows that will air ahead of the wedding. It is airing Meghan & Harry: A Revolutionary Romance, narrated by Downton Abbey’s Dame Penelope Wilton as well as WEDTalks: The BritBox Wedding Watchers Guide, a daily countdown to the wedding, hosted by former BBC Royal correspondent Jennie Bond, offering viewers with an inside look into the couple and wedding preparations.
BritBox President Soumya Sriraman said it would be the “ultimate destination” for the nuptials. “BritBox is the only U.S. destination providing access to ITV’s live broadcast of the event and Julie and Phillip’s expert take on the proceedings. In addition, we’ve curated a special line-up that not only gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the wedding, but also gives fans a well-rounded view of the soon-to-be married couple and the Royal Family,” she added.
While it will be on the only destination providing ITV’s coverage, NBC and CBS will also both be offering live coverage of the event. CBS has got Gayle King, Kevin Frazier and Brit Tina Brown to cover the event from 4am EST, while NBC’s Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb will be on call for the Peacock network. The latter is also working with British production company ITN Productions on Inside the Royal Wedding: Harry and Meghan.
As previously, announced, Fox is getting into the Meghan Markle business with a two-house documentary special. The broadcaster has ordered Meghan Markle: An American Princess from British production company Spun Gold, which specializes in royal documentaries including The Royal House of Windsor, The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration and When Ant & Dec Met The Prince and Sky-backed U.S./UK firm Znak & Co.
Finally, BBC Studios is making Royal Wedding Watch for PBS, a stripped live event leading up to the marriage. It marks one of the production company’s first series for a U.S. broadcaster since it became able to produce programmes for third-party broadcasters last year. Countryfile’s Matt Baker and U.S. news anchor Meredith Vieira will host the five-part series air across five days in the run-up to May 19.