Computer and data giant IBM announced today that it’s purchased The Weather Company’s digital assets in a multi-billion dollar deal. IBM is now the proud owner of weather dot com—the world’s most popular source for finding out what THIS! is—as well as several other ventures. The Weather Channel was not included in the deal, and the television network will now operate on its own.
Not one to pass up low-hanging fruit, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon created a shockingly not-unfunny parody commercial making fun of The Weather Channel for planning to dump their reality shows and shift back to 100% live weather coverage in the near future. As the gruff announcer shouts: “Buckle up, buttercup, because WEATHER. IS. BACK!”
Years ago, The Learning Channel dumped learning in favor of Honey Boo Boo and a family led by a couple that doesn’t know how to just sit and talk at night. The History Channel slowly went from history to Hitler to the Harrisons, and The Weather Channel—once a force so powerful in America that it was the authority on weather—followed that same misguided path, eschewing the perpetual map briefings that turned them into a powerhouse to begin airing reality programs about pudgy beards, people anxiously ogling at rocks, and the foibles of a buncha rushin’, cussin’ truckers.
Smooth jazz. Green screens. Jim Cantore’s hair was on his head instead of his face. (The beard works for him, though.) Weather all day, every day, without a hint of hype or those ridiculous storm names. It was a successful experiment that raised a generation of scientists and likely saved countless lives. Even people who don’t care about the weather admit that The Weather Channel of the 1990s was the height of television excellence.
We’re three days away from the start of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean, and we’ve already seen one tropical storm this year. Tropical storms in May aren’t all that rare, but they aren’t exactly an omen, either. Forecasters expect a below-average hurricane season, but it just takes one to make a mess.
Cities like Dallas, Fort Worth, and Shreveport are under the gun for what could be an interesting bout of severe weather this afternoon, with storms potentially producing very large hail, damaging winds, and strong tornadoes. If you live in the area, make sure you have a way to receive warnings and a plan if you need to take life-saving action.
Verizon FiOS unceremoniously dumped The Weather Channel from its cable lineup this morning, opting to provide subscribers with AccuWeather's new 24/7 weather network in lieu of the Atlanta-based weather behemoth. The move comes a year after the network went through an ugly public brawl with DirecTV.
You'll never believe THIS! Or, maybe you will. Between terrible stories and irrelevant slideshows, going to weather dot com these days is a painful chore. The Weather Channel's website is killing the network's credibility, and when it comes to earning a viewer's trust during a life-threatening disaster, that's a dangerous game to play.
Some of the most famous (well, probably the only famous) clips from The Weather Channel's years of coverage are courtesy of Jim Cantore going insane whenever he sees thundersnow during a blizzard. Cantore saw thundersnow six times during a series of live shots in Boston last night, and his reaction is amazing.
Through major hurricanes and sunny days, few media companies have created as much reach, recognition, and unlikely controversy as The Weather Channel. I lived out a weather geek's dream on Wednesday and flew to Atlanta to visit their headquarters for a day, and it was incredible experience to see how they work.
Remember when Mitt Romney promised to kill Big Bird right before he lost to his scary, pro-Big Bird opponent? The Weather Channel remembers.