The Weather Channel Braces For Friday-Night Flicks Do not be alarmed if you tune into The Weather Channel Friday to see a perfect storm coming — rest assured, the Atlantic Coast is calm. Andrew Wallenstein comments on TWCl's latest move to show Friday-night weather movies.
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The Weather Channel Braces For Friday-Night Flicks

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The Weather Channel Braces For Friday-Night Flicks

The Weather Channel Braces For Friday-Night Flicks

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/114175675/114330810" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

If you turn on the Weather Channel tonight and see a perfect storm, don't be alarmed, the coasts are relatively calm. It's George Clooney, playing a fisherman in a movie. Commentator Andrew Wallenstein explains why the Weather Channel is starting to show a weather movie of the week.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Perfect Storm")

Mr. GEORGE CLOONEY (Actor): (As Captain Billy Tyne) We're looking at 40 to 50 foot waves, gale-force winds. A real bad one.

ANDREW WALLENSTEIN: Meteorology is like the main character in "The Perfect Storm," so it makes sense to see the movie on the Weather Channel.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Perfect Storm")

Mr. MARK WAHLBERG (Actor): (As Bobby Shatford) It's pretty rough stuff out there, that's for sure.

WALLENSTEIN: But as the network will soon find out, climate-centric movies aren't exactly a well-stocked cinematic genre. In a couple of weeks, the network is going to show Stephen King's "Misery," which opens with a writer's car breaking down in a snowstorm.

(Soundbite of blowing wind)

WALLENSTEIN: James Caan is the poor soul subjected to torture, courtesy of Kathy Bates.

(Soundbite of movie, "Misery")

Ms. KATHY BATES (Actor): (As Annie Wilkes) No, no, no. Not Misery. Not my Misery.

WALLENSTEIN: "Misery" was a good movie, but saying it's about weather, that's like saying "The Godfather" was about cannolis. So why are movies making landfall on the network that almost never deviates from dew point charts and Doppler radar? To hear the network spin it, it's a way to — and I quote from the press release - demonstrate how weather is an all-encompassing part of our lives. But there's some ulterior motives, too. You see, Weather Channel programming is something of a double-edged sword.

(Soundbite of TV Program)

Unidentified Woman: …tornado watch or warning pop-up, in any of these cities from Monroe, Jackson…

WALLENSTEIN: On the one hand, it's handy information most cable subscribers use often enough. But they'll only watch long enough to know whether they need to leave the house with a sweater. And that doesn't help the channel's ratings. So, as bizarre a departure as movies might seem, movies at least keep viewers on the couch for a few hours. Plus for the channel to buy dated movies, that's a lot cheaper than producing original programming. Now, Weather Channel says this is just a short-term experiment, but it's probably the future of the channel.

Consider the evolution of MTV, which once had the same problem. A schedule consisting entirely of music videos practically asking the viewer to change the channel every three minutes. Twenty-something years later, MTV is now wall-to-wall reality shows precisely because longer programs discourage clicking elsewhere. But don't go crying for Weather Channel just yet. The future of its business is Weather.com anyway. In the meantime, enjoy the Weather Channel's screening of "Deep Blue Sea." And don't let the title fool you into thinking it's a tsunami documentary — it's a horror flick about homicidal sharks. Come to think of it, this whole weather-movies concept is liable to jump the shark.

(Soundbite of movie, "Rain Man")

Mr. DUSTIN HOFFMAN (Actor): (As Raymond Babbitt) This is definitely not my room, and I don't have my tapioca pudding. The bed's in the wrong place. That's definitely not my bed.

WALLENSTEIN: Don't get any ideas about "Rain Man." We know it's not about a meteorologist.

SIEGEL: That's Commentator Andrew Wallenstein of the Hollywood Reporter.

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