The Weather Channel Has A Bold New Strategy: Not So Much Weather

weatherman touching photo of hurricane

It's nothing new for cable channels to wander away from their original missions. A&E originally stood for Arts and Entertainment, and now it's The Hoarders And Intervention Channel. Bravo certainly wasn't originally supposed to be The Real Housewives Channel. "Bravo" wasn't supposed to be what it is now: an ironic name, kind of like calling your network Golf Clap TV. Like A&E, Bravo was once centered on performing arts.

MTV took the "music" out of "music television" and became Your Online Home For Underage Drinking, TLC went from The Learning Channel to Babies Babies Babies And More Babies, while VH1 abandoned adult-contemporary music videos to specialize in helping ordinary people get televised dates with delusional and often intoxicated celebrities.

But The Weather Channel?

You've always been able to tune in to The Weather Channel for live weather coverage. Neither rain nor sleet keeps The Weather Channel from its appointed rounds (of Local On The 8s), but the rush of unscripted television has apparently taken its toll, as The Weather Channel intends to reduce its coverage of the weather and increase ... "weather-themed reality programming."

Now, there's a major problem with this idea, which will kick off with a show about a "crazy landscape photographer." And that is: we already have plenty of weather-themed reality programming. It's certainly been working for Discovery (which has Storm Chasers and the often weather-affected if not strictly weather-themed Deadliest Catch and such). It's awfully late in the cycle to try to position The Weather Channel as yet another adventure channel for rough-hewn dudes.

It's not that The Weather Channel couldn't have success with this stuff; it certainly could. Who thought Bravo would make a go of reality before Queer Eye For The Straight Guy? And they're probably right that actually getting a weather update has gotten so easy via iPhones and computers that giving little weathercasts all the time is probably not a business model going forward.

At the same time, if you do find yourself in front of the TV and really eager to watch a weather forecast at the drop of a moisture-resistant hat, or if you do have a habit of heading over there to see someone smile and explain whether you need to grab a coat, you're apparently out of luck. All you're getting is a crawl, squashed down at the bottom of your ... what was it again? Ah, yes. "Weather-themed reality programming."



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