While the world is on royal baby watch, TV networks are in their own special version of limbo – though they must have crews stationed in London at all times, it’s getting increasingly more difficult to squeeze news out of an event that could happen today, tomorrow or even a week from now.
Boredom and restlessness are setting in. Tuesday morning, NBC’s “Today” showed correspondent Natalie Morales kicking back in a lawn chair, sipping tea, after her report. On CNN, Max Foster sounded exasperated as he told “New Day” anchors Kate Bolduan and Chris Cuomo, “Never have we been so prepared, Kate and Chris, for a story to break.” During “America’s Newsroom” on Fox News Channel, Bill Hemmer joked to Martha MacCallum, “You may have to file for citizenship if the baby doesn’t come soon.”
“The waiting is the story this morning,” Norah O’Donnell confirmed on CBS.
E! reporter Melanie Bromley, currently in London, appeared on live report noting that the royal baby clearly doesn’t understand TV news division budgets, as camera crews settle down to wait, indefinitely.
“It’s become, ‘Oh gosh, now what am I going to report on today? What am I going to say that’s going to be new and different?’” Bromley said via phone from E!’s set near Buckingham Palace. She arrived in London last weekend, because of initial panic that even though the baby was supposed to arrive “in mid-July,” it might be born early – the network couldn’t take any chances.
But clocking into Week 2 of what has been dubbed the “Great Kate Wait,” Bromley, along with the rest of the press, is struggling with ways to report new stories every day. They shuffle back and forth between Buckingham Palace, where announcements will be made, and outside St. Mary’s Hospital, where the royal couple will appear to show their baby to the world.
Each network tries for their own angle, but it’s tough – there’s just so little news. Nearly every morning show included William’s stepmother Camilla’s remarks from a hospital tour on Monday that they “hope” the baby will be born by the end of the week. ABC’s “Good Morning America,” whose correspondents Bianna Golodryga and Lama Hasan are on “Contraction Watch” in London, tried to spice things up today, running a segment on royal photographer Chris Jackson, and connecting the dots by explaining that the royal baby will be “the most photographed baby in the world.”
Some newscasts added that even though the due date was originally thought to be July 13, now there are conflicting reports – Kate’s mother, Carol Middleton, was reportedly heard saying the baby will be a Leo, which means it wouldn’t be born until around July 22.
As time drags on, however, Bromley said, all will be worth it for the brief moments when William and Kate arrive with the baby for the first official family portrait on the hospital steps.
“There are people who will be here for three weeks for three minutes of coverage,” said Bromley, who was raised and worked as a journalist in the U.K. for years. “When you think about it, it’s absolute bonkers – yet none of them would miss it for the world.”
Meanwhile, here’s a look at some of the ways networks are killing time.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewing Queen Elizabeth’s cousin Margaret Rhodes, who speaks about the baby:
NBC’s dispatch on waiting for the baby
ABC’s report on how Kate Middleton spent her weekend: