Bloomberg reports that the companies that own The Weather Channel—including Bain Capital, Blackstone, and NBC Universal—appear to be in the beginning stages of talks to sell the Atlanta-based weather behemoth. The question is: who would buy it? Let's speculate!
NBC Universal bought The Weather Channel back in 2008, at which time the network promptly switched over to an infotainment focus, shifting away from the pure weather upon which the company built its legacy for nearly three decades up to that point. The network even showed full-length movies at one point, which stopped after Jim Cantore ripped his employer on Twitter for showing a movie instead of covering a tornado outbreak in the central United States:
I want to apollogize to all of you. I was SEVERELY mislead. Was told we were bagging the "movie" to do what this network was created for.
That was in April of 2010. The network still hasn't gone back to doing what the network was created for.
If the Bloomberg report is accurate and The Weather Channel's parent companies are indeed looking to sell, who should buy it and what would happen to the channel and its programming?
If Discovery Networks somehow manages to cough up the "at least $3.5 billion" necessary to buy The Weather Channel and its associated brands, it could result in some minor changes for the widely-watched weather network.
TWC could easily be folded into the operations of The Discovery Channel or The Learning Channel. I mean, TWC is 60% reality programming to begin with. Nobody would notice a change! The only difference would be the occasional Honey Boo Boo crossover (can't you just picture a sassy Jim Cantore belting out "ain't nobody messin' with my thundersnow chiiiiiiild!") and on-air meteorologists requiring subtitles even though they're speaking English.
The Sarah Palin Channel
Who needs those weather models in this here free America, right? I can tell you with the true patriot weather across this great nation that the sun is shining through on the November, too. Severe thunderstorms? Hrrngh. Dontcha think they're of the devil or something? Ack!
Please, Max? Pretty please?
Time Warner Cable
Now, this would be a tricky one given the potential merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast. Since Comcast owns NBC Universal, the new Cable Merger From Hell would own The Weather Channel. They could brand it as "TWC Presents TWC, a Channel by TWC" and bring on that annoying-as-hell football coach from the commercials as its new narrator.
A potential TWC/TWC deal would also spell an uncertain future for WeatherNation, which is The Weather Channel's only competitor on the airwaves. WeatherNation appears on digital channels across the country, as well as beside TWC on DirecTV, so owning WeatherNation's competitor might give the cable company further incentive to squash the fledgling network.
[Guy Fieri grunting for 18 hours]
Another option would be to sell The Weather Channel to Viacom, which owns numerous channels such as Nickelodeon, MTV, and TV Land. As with Discovery, since The Weather Channel is mostly reality programming anyway, there wouldn't be much of a change here. I would kill to see Roseanne do the weather, though.
So, what do you think? Who should buy The Weather Channel? If you're, say, the President of The Weather Channel (hi Dave!) and have any inside information you'd like to share, drop me a line.
[top image via The Weather Channel]