The winds of change are blowing through The Weather Channel, as the network looks to rejuvenate its morning line-up with an assist from corporate sibling NBC, while prepping a new slate of weekend prime-time programming.
Beginning June 22, Weather Center meteorologist Stephanie Abrams will move from her prime-time perch to a three-hour morning block, setting the table for the launch of Al Roker’s new 6 a.m. show. Abrams and her evening co-host Mike Bettes will assume stewardship of the 7 a.m.-10 a.m. program Your Weather Today, which leads out of the Roker vehicle Wake Up with Al.
As was previously announced back in April, the Today weatherman will share hosting duties with Abrams, who’ll hold down the fort from the network’s home studio in Atlanta. Bowing July 20, Wake Up with Al represents the first concerted effort by NBC Universal to create programming synergies between its flagship network and The Weather Channel since it acquired a minority stake in the property a year ago.
With Abrams and Bettes taking over the morning shift, Jim Cantore and Alexandra Steele will assume the helm of the 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Weather Center.
Meanwhile, the weekends will see a move toward more original programming, as The Weather Channel gets ready to introduce four new prime-time series, including: Cantore Stories, in which the meteorologist visits some of the nation’s most extreme weather environments; Weatherproof, which offers a scientific look at the impact the elements have on everyday objects; and the self explanatory Tornado Chasers and America’s Worst Weather: Caught on Camera.
Along with its linear TV assets, The Weather Channel boasts a particularly robust suite of digital platforms. According to Nielsen, weather.com averages 39 million unique users and serves up 44.9 million video streams per month. Moreover, the channel now draws nearly 13 million uniques via its mobile platforms, up from 6 million a year ago.
About 80 percent of The Weather Channel’s client base buys inventory on the network’s linear and digital platforms, and the majority of those digital dollars are dedicated to display ads on weather.com, said Paul Iaffaldano, executive vp, general manager, Weather Channel media solutions group.
“Digital is a huge part of our business,” said Iaffaldano. “Our combined TV and online reach beats any other cable news property out there.”