Variety reports that The Weather Channel will roll out four new reality and entertainment shows later this year in what seems to be a television programmer's version of the middle finger to critics of the 32-year-old network.

In addition to the 22 current long-form reality programs that The Weather Channel already airs, Variety's report states that the Atlanta-based network will soon add shows about tornadoes ("Tornado Alley," debuting in April) and hunters ("Catching Hell," debuting in June), as well as two more shows later in the year: one called "Now What?" that "explores the choices people make" during disasters, and "Wicked in the Weather," which will explor "Americana's most frightening legends."

The Weather Channel's intense focus on ratings-grabbing shows rather than the 24/7 weather information that the network became famous for is cited by DirecTV as a major reason why the satellite carrier dropped the Atlanta-based network in January in favor of its only competitor, WeatherNation.

In an open letter to its customers, DirecTV CEO Mike White directly cited The Weather Channel's focus on entertainment programming as a reason for the dispute:

A growing number of customers have complained that The Weather Channel devotes 40% of its programming day to reality shows, preempting the hard weather news they really want. Why should you pay for 100% weather information, and only receive it 60% of the time?

According to today's TV Guide listings, The Weather Channel will devote 4 out of 12 hours of its programming to reality shows between noon and midnight tonight.

[Image via Getty]