BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Ever wonder why weather anchors run into a storm to be buffeted by hurricane-force winds? Meteorologists at The Weather Channel say it’s important to show viewers what conditions are like — but to do it in a safe, responsible way.
“Here’s why I think it’s utterly important we cover the storms when and where they happen: People need to know the power of these storms, and there’s no way to get across the danger the weather presents unless we can show them what it looks like,” said Richard Knabb, the network’s tropical weather specialist and a former hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center. “Weather and satellite only tell part of the story. When you’re in a hurricane, showing the windstorm and the surge of the ocean coming ashore, it’s educational and motivational material for the next time it happens.”
Meteorologist Stephanie Abrams said being out in storms has made her a better meteorologist because she can explain and describe weather better — even if it means she’s “living on Pop Tarts and Sun Chips” for the storm’s duration.
“I can tell people how to prepare better because I lived it,” she said. “Other reporters give us a bad name. You won’t see me standing on a sea wall in Galveston when the storm comes ashore. That’s crazy. I think we understand the power of storms, and we’re given a bad name because other people out there aren’t knowledgeable about it.”
Meteorologist Jim Cantore, a Weather Channel veteran, said live storm coverage came after years of just showing maps on-air in the 1980s. Viewers said they wanted to see the intensity of storms.
“People know it’s pretty serious if we’re standing on the beach,” Mr. Cantore said.
In addition to severe storm coverage, Weather Channel will continue to expand its original programming in prime time, announcing a new seven-episode docu-series, “Coast Guard Alaska,” premiering at 9 p.m. Nov. 9.
But even with new programs, Bob Walker, executive vice president and general manager for The Weather Channel, said the network’s foundation is to “make sure we keep people safe.
“Severe coverage for us is about helping people understand what is going on, helping people understand why it is going on,” Mr. Walker said. “It’s about taking people and immersing them in the actual weather experience themselves by taking people to the weather itself.”
Fox delays show access
Cord cutters take note: Reports emerged Tuesday that Fox will try to limit access to its shows online for those who do not have a cable or satellite subscription.
According to The Los Angeles Times, beginning Aug. 15, viewers will need to show proof of a paid TV subscription to watch programs on Hulu.com, Fox.com and other places the day after a show airs. Those without proof will have to wait eight days to see the programs. Currently, most shows turn up online a day after their initial broadcast, and that will remain the case for subscribers to Hulu Plus, Hulu’s subscription service.
So far, Dish Network is the only major television provider to sign onto the plan.
FX sets fall schedule
Late last week FX announced its fall schedule rollout, including the return of “Sons of Anarchy” (10 p.m. Sept. 6), “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (10 p.m. Sept. 15) and “The League” (10:30 p.m. Oct. 6).
Animated comedy “Archer” will get a three-week run starting Sept. 15 at 10:30 p.m.
New drama “American Horror Story,” executive produced by Ryan Murphy (“Glee”) and starring Dylan McDermott (“The Practice”) and Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights”) as a family who moves from Boston to Los Angeles “to reconcile past anguish,” debuts at 10 p.m. Oct. 5.
When IFC’s “Commercial Kings” debuted earlier this summer, the network created “The LoCo Awards” to honor the strangest low-budget local TV spots. Pittsburgh’s “Berger & Green” law firm commercial was nominated, but, alas, it did not win.
However, Altoona Soft Water won for a commercial featuring a 15-month-old child, the son of the company’s owner, who touts his father’s product from his crib with help from a special lip-sync effect.
TV Land has renewed the Fran Drescher sitcom “Happily Divorced” for a 12-episode second season to air next spring. … A new season of the original British “Top Gear” debuts at 9 p.m. Aug. 22 on BBC America. … WE TV will follow “Beverly Hills, 90210″ actress Shannen Doherty as she plans her latest wedding in an eight-episode docu-series to air in 2012. … The first episode of “CMT Made,” an adult version of MTV’s “Made,” will air at 10 p.m. Aug. 17 on CMT. Both programs come from Pittsburgh-based executive producer Bob Kusbit. … Actress Kaley Cuoco (“The Big Bang Theory”) will host the “Teen Choice 2011″ awards at 8 p.m. Aug. 7. … TNT has renewed light legal drama “Franklin & Bash” for a second season to air next year.
Read more coverage from the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Tuned In Journal at post-gazette.com/tv.
First published on July 28, 2011 at 12:00 am