Olympic Opening Ceremony 2012 Start Time: When to Watch London's Grand Launch

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IJuly 27, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26:  Coca-Cola torchbearer Tyler Rix lights the Olympic cauldron during the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Finale Concert in London's Hyde Park, presented by Coca-Cola on July 26, 2012 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images)
Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images

The highly anticipated start of the 2012 Olympic Games is scheduled to take place Friday, July 27, with a scripted performance well-deserving of one of the world's greatest cities and a fitting tribute to the host nation of Great Britain. 

The opening ceremony in London is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. local time, or 4 p.m on the East Coast, 3 p.m central and 1 p.m on the West Coast.

However, viewers in the United States will not be able to see a live showing of the event, as NBC is scheduled to broadcast the tape-delayed opening ceremony at 7 p.m. ET. Coverage of the event will kick off at 5:30 p.m ET, but the actual ceremonies are not expected to run longer than three hours. 

Award-winning English director and producer Danny Boyle will orchestrate Friday's $42 million event, and his theme of the night will be "Isles of Wonder," a hat tip to William Shakespeare's play The Tempest.

According to the official website of the opening ceremony (London2012.com), Boyle has scheduled the event to start with the sound of the "world's largest harmonically tuned bell." The bell was created by the same manufacturer that created the bell in Big Ben and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. 

From there, a mix of history, dance and music is scheduled to pay homage to the host country. 

Boyle had this to say, via London2012.com, about his opening ceremonies:

"Our Isles of Wonder salutes and celebrates the exuberant creativity of the British genius in an Opening Ceremony that we hope will be as unpredictable and inventive as the British people."

The athletes of over 200 countries will take the traditional march around the stadium, which is expected to hold over 60,000 attendants. Over a billion viewers are expected to be watching around the world as well. 

According to Jill Lawless of the Associated Press, Boyle is rumored to be incorporating Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, secret agent James Bond, William Blake and former Beatle Paul McCartney into his show. McCartney is expected to close the ceremony with a rendition of "Hey Jude," one of his most popular songs. 

The Queen of England is also expected to play a large role, possibly delivering the speech to declare the Games open, according to Lawless. Other royalty and political heads from around the world will be in attendance.