The Weather Channel is getting back to weather, sort of


A view of The Weather Channel’s new “Weather Center” set and on-screen look (The Weather Channel)

Hard core Weather Channel fans longingly recall the golden years of the 1980s to mid-1990s when the network focused on the weather.

While TWC isn’t quite returning to those roots, the network has re-imagined itself this week with a new look and new emphasis on providing in-depth weather coverage.

Its freshly introduced “weather all the time” mantra means the bottom of viewers’ screens contains local weather forecast information continuously (including in commercials), even when it’s airing “long form” shows, which have nothing to do with the current weather. HD viewers also have an “enhanced sidebar” with additional weather and programming information.


(The Weather Channel)

In short, don’t expect to see Dave Schwartz walking you through the Days Inn 5-day Business Planner at prime time, but do expect a jam-packed screen chock full of weather goodness, irrespective of the primary programming.

Those long-form shows, which have sometimes lacked any meaningful connection to the sky, aren’t going away. But there is an effort to tie this programming more intimately with the atmosphere under the banner of “Natural Drama”. Notes the Associated Press:

[TWC is] trying to make these shows more focused on science and the weather so they don’t seem like they could be on any other channel, [network president David] Clark said. He cited “Iron Men,” a series about construction workers on high-rise buildings, as one that didn’t work because it didn’t fit the brand. Better fitting the new direction is “Freaks of Nature,” a show about people with unusual abilities to withstand the elements.


(The Weather Channel)

During major weather events, TWC promises to preempt long-form shows for live coverage and will have the capability to do this regionally, the Associated Press reports. So viewers in the Pacific Northwest, for example, will not be forced to watch coverage of a thunderstorm outbreak in the Southeast instead of regularly scheduled programming.

Overarching all of these new initiatives, TWC has unveiled a new slogan which reflects its enthusiasm for the weather: “It’s Amazing Out There.”

“Weather can be a joyful or terrifying experience at any given moment. ‘It’s Amazing Out There’ celebrates and honors how weather shapes our world in both wonderful and dramatic ways,” says Scot Safon, chief marketing officer for The Weather Channel. “We hope this brand message inspires viewers to explore, investigate, and appreciate the experience of weather in all of its many forms.”

Video: Demo of The Weather Channel’s new look

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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Brian McNoldy · November 14, 2013

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