The Weather Channel has named veteran TV news exec Tom O’Brien its new president, effective immediately.
In his new role, O’Brien will oversee all TV and digital operations of The Weather Channel and its OTT service, Local Now — including content production, acquisitions, programming, advertising sales, marketing, and all related corporate strategy and development.
The Atlanta-based O’Brien will now also hold the title of evp of Allen Media LLC, reports directly to Entertainment Studios founder, chairman and ceo, former TV host/entrepreneur Byron Allen.
“I have known and worked with Tom for 25 years, and he is a phenomenal addition to The Weather Channel and our Entertainment Studios family,”Allen said in a statement. “Tom’s extensive corporate leadership experience across broadcast, cable, and digital platforms makes him the ideal executive to join our team as we continue to grow our global media and technology company.”
O’Brien joins TWC from Nexstar Media Group, the company that made waves last December for swooping in to buy Tribune Media for $6.4 billion (including debt) after Tribune’s deal with Sinclair fell apart late last year. He initially joined Nexstar as evp, digital media and chief revenue officer in 2013.
The addition of O’Brien comes only a few months after Dave Shull, then-Weather Channel chief executive officer, left the company.
Added O’Brien: “I’m excited to join the exceptional team at The Weather Channel and Allen Media. This is a unique opportunity to help lead the most trusted and number one weather news brand in America. The Weather Channel’s track record of success as an industry leader in innovation, advanced science, and technology is simply the best. Our primary goal is to protect and save lives as we continue to reach new audiences and provide an integral service to people across this country.”
Prior to joining Nexstar, O’Brien worked for over 14 years in various leadership roles at NBCU, including as CNBC’s evp and chief revenue officer.
O’Brien also has an extensive local news background. He arrived at CNBC from NBC’s Television Stations division where he was president and general manager of WNBC. Before moving to WNBC, O’Brien was the president and gm of NBC O&Os KXAS in Dallas/Ft. Worth and WVIT in Connecticut.
Entertainment Studios purchased The Weather Group from The Blackstone Group, Bain Capital, and Comcast/NBCUniversal in March 2018 for a reported $300 million. Before purchasing TWC, Entertainment Studios was known as a media company that includes several networks including Cars.tv, Pets.tv and Recipe.tv.
In 2008, NBC Universal, along with private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital, acquired TWC from Landmark Communications for $3.5 billion. In the following years, the channel restructured, cut staff, and added long-form programming.
Despite all of the changes, The Weather Channel consistently tops the Harris Poll’s list of Best TV News Brands (eight years running). Ipsos poll ranked The Weather Channel as the most trusted name in news media. Last summer, the network was nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy was its continued coverage of Hurricane Harvey.