Weather Channel Extends Weather Underground Into Prime Time

By Chris Ariens 

Starting tonight the Weather Channel is giving a second run to its 2-hour evening show Weather Underground, with a re-air from 10 p.m. to midnight. Unlike most of the Weather Channel’s programs, Weather Underground, which debuted in August, forgoes a gleaming studio and computer graphics for a bar-like setting and chalkboards.

When the Weather Channel acquired its one-time rival in 2012, Weather Underground’s devoted fans took pitchforks to social media fearing that the celebrity-driven, reality-show focused Weather Channel would mess with the data-driven formula that had made Weather Underground a place for true weather geeks. The bare bones studio and no-nonsense delivery of the two-hour program was meant to calm their worst fears.

“Weather Underground has cultivated a loyal and passionate community, including more than 120,000 people who have their own personal weather stations,” said WU co-host and Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Bettes. “These are people who clearly love weather as much as we do. We wanted to feed their appetite and create a show just for them,” he said.

And viewers are noticing. Year-to-date the show is up +3 percent in the A25-54 demo, vs. the same period last year, which included heavy coverage of the Polar Vortex.

Meanwhile, a new marketing campaign is not meant for just weather geeks, but for those who long for the days of ’80s sitcoms, produced by Weather Channel’s in-house promo team:

Last month the Weather Channel became an independent network, as its owners sold the product and technology business to IBM. The two companies continue to share office space at the Weather Channel headquarters in Atlanta.

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