This ought to be entertaining. On Saturday, August 8 at 11 p.m. (ET), TBS is launching a reality TV show in which aspiring weather stars battle it out for cash and an on-camera appearance broadcasting weather on CNN.
The 8-episode series, Funny Or Die Presents America’s Next Weatherman, features 12 contestants seeking weather fame, with a wide variety of backgrounds. Ages 23-42, they include a former college football player, a model and ice skater, a news intern, a fitness trainer, and a radio personality.
Several of the competitors have meteorology degrees or are working towards them, including Michelle Rotella, 27, who hails from Gaithersburg, Md. and is the chief meteorologist for HMTV6 in Hagerstown, Md.
Rotella, who graduated high school at 16, earned her degree in meteorology from Florida State University. She at first hesitated from applying to the program. “I … wasn’t sure if it would bring a positive light to my career,” she said in an email.
But Rotella later changed her mind. “Being on this show was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I just could not pass up,” she said.
Michelle Rotella’s television video resume demonstration
Fitting the mold of many reality shows, America’s Next Weatherman presents a host of challenges for its contestants, who then must withstand dramatic voteoffs to remain in the competition.
“Funny Or Die Presents America’s Next Weatherman takes everything we know – or think we know – about weathercasters and then uses it to put 12 competitors through the wringer for a chance at the big time,” said David Eilenberg, senior vice president at TBS and TNT in a press release.
The show is a marriage between the “comedic and subversive voice” of Funny or Die, the website in which users vote up and down the best and worst submitted comedy videos from amateurs and pros, TBS said. It is hosted by Matt Oberg and judged by Los Angeles weather personalities Johnny Mountain and Jillian Barberie.
“America should watch this show because there is nothing of its kind out there,” said Rotella. “It combines real situations that can truly happen in this industry with a twist of true TBS comedy!”
While Rotella could not say how she fared in the competition, she spoke positively about the process. “As with any competition show, it was stressful at times and of course dramatic, but the overall experience, was nothing short of rewarding,” she said. “I gained so many new friends along the way, and the cast and crew were absolutely amazing to work with.”
Via the show’s press release, here is background information about the 12 contestants:
- Jennifer “Jazzy T” Williams (32), of Buffalo, N.Y., a radio personality with 10 years of on-air experience and a degree in telecommunications and digital media arts.
- Frank Margini (32) of Old Tappan, N.J., a fitness trainer and former member of Air Force with a degree in criminal justice and only 5% body fat.
- Jeff Forgeron (25) of San Diego, Calif., an Associated Press writer for Weather Underground who has a degree in meteorology.
- Miller Robson (42) of Columbus, Ga., a former wrestler and local meteorologist/anchor who is working toward a degree in meteorology.
- Jenn Barlow (28) of San Diego, Calif., a “sneaky smart blonde” with seven years experience as a television reporter and host.
- Mackenzie Bart (23), of Columbus, Ohio, Miss Ohio 2014 who is currently working on her degree in atmospheric science.
- Ron Hilliard (28), of Detroit, Mich., a news intern and SKYWARN-trained weather spotter with a degree in the interdisciplinary humanities of communications, theater and Spanish.
- Michelle Rotella (27) of Germantown, Md., a meteorologist who graduated from high school at 16 before earning a bachelor’s degree in meteorology.
- Aubrey Evans (25), of Las Vegas, Nev., a model and skilled ice skater with an abundance of life experience to bring to the competition.
- Christina Faraone (26) of Walden, N.Y., a Marine meteorologist technician whose master’s thesis was on the role of weather in aviation.
- David Collins (34) from Deland, Fla., a Navy veteran who graduated at the top of his meteorology class and spent four years as an operational weather briefer.
- Drew Logan (26) of Westlake Village, Calif., a pastor and former college football player who recently completed his master’s degree.