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Creator / The Weather Channel

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The purest nuts-and-bolts television channel that will ever be created, The Weather Channel is a 24-hour American cable weather network based just outside Atlanta, Georgia dedicated to telling you what to expect outside every morning, afternoon, evening and night. Whenever a major severe weather event isn't happening, there are also speculative documentaries usually airing each afternoon, evening, and during the overnight hours (these shows are pre-empted in case of major severe weather outbreaks).

The network is well known for its CNN-like weather coverage, and will usually be the first to send reporters, usually meteorologists themselves, to report live on site at major weather events; something that can quickly become awesome, if not crowningly so, if it involves the words "hurricane" or "tornado" occurring within visual range. The Weather Channel was owned by Comcast/NBC/Universal and two private equity firms, The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital; however, the non-TV parts of the company were sold to IBM in 2016, and the network itself was sold two years later to infamous low-budget TV producer Byron Allen.

Its Canadian counterpart is The Weather Network, which, for years, used a version of TWC's proprietary WeatherStar system.note  Although it had a pseudo-competitor in the late 1990s with MSNBC Weather by Intellicast,note  competitors to The Weather Channel almost all of which exclusively focus[ed] on weather news and forecasts as TWC originally had popped up during the late 2000s with the now-defunct digital subchannel networks NBC Weather Plus (20052009) and The Local AccuWeather Channel (20052015), and on cable and streaming in the 2010s and early 2020s, with WeatherNation (launched in 2011; see Cable/Satellite Mudslinging below), AccuWeather Network (launched in 2015) and Fox Weather (launched in 2020).

Tropes invoked by The Weather Channel include:

  • And Starring: Wake Up With Al, starring Al Roker and Stephanie Abrams.
  • AstroTurf: Claimed by DirecTV in its spat with The Weather Channel who invoked an Internet Counterattack on DirecTV for dropping the channel from the satellite provider.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: One of the draws of the network, and why they're so valuable. If someone on The Weather Channel tells you to seek shelter, listen to them.
  • Badass Bookworm: Almost mandatory for the on-air staff who go out into hurricanes. Justified for Warren Madden and former OCM Nicole Mitchell, as they're Air Force Reserve officers and 'Hurricane Hunters' - the folks who fly missions into hurricanes.
  • Big "YES!": Jim Cantore is absolutely ecstatic when he gets to experience thundersnow.
  • Cable/Satellite Mudslinging: In 2013, The Weather Channel decided to raise the per-subscriber rate it charges the cable or satellite operator from about 13c to 14c, while DirecTV felt that TWC was only worth 10c, so they decided to drop it in favor of WeatherNation, a competing TV weather service. So The Weather Channel started running anti-DirecTV ads, despite the fact it was no longer available on DirecTV...
  • Cool Old Guy: John Hope. He cared about his viewers, staying up for three days and pleading with viewers to evacuate during Hurricanes Hugo and Andrew. He also enjoyed putting on educational shows for children.
  • Cult Soundtrack: The network's local forecast music has been offered for sale on CD by the network.
  • Darker and Edgier: Since the 2013 retool, whenever major severe weather is being covered, the entire network shifts into what's been dubbed "We're All Gonna Die Mode", or simply "Red Mode". Meaning the light, cheerful music is replaced by dramatic music, the graphics and intros shift from white and blue to black and red (with dramatic sonar pings), and even the logo in the corner turns red. All to signify that whatever's happening is serious, and you need to be paying attention.
    • Even before then, whenever major storm coverage occurred, the usual smooth jazz music played during the local forecasts was dispensed with in favor of dramatic synth music (even in areas where the storm wasn't hitting), which could lead to Mood Whiplash if your area had nice weather compared to the major storm elsewhere.
  • Deadline News: The 2013 Tornado Hunt crew came very close to this in the El Reno, Oklahoma tornado.
    • Jim Cantore, of all people, almost got impaled by a 2x4 during Hurricane Michael in 2018. He subsequently collided and nearly was tripped by a branch during Hurricane Ian in 2022, resulting in him having to brace against a sign before taking shelter.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jim Cantore can do this on occasion. Such as when there's a wildly unpredictable storm system:
    "...And this is where it becomes fun for the meteorologist."
  • Dissonant Serenity: The computerized Weather Report Opening of the forecast during a massive storm. Calmly stating it will be windy with rain - heavy at times with winds that might reach 100-140 mph.
  • Don't Ask, Just Run: If the on-air meteorologists tells you to do this you'd better do it.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Somewhat averted. Even after decades of good work, TWC has started to become the go-to place for even the other networks to call for on-air interviews and explanations of a current weather situation.
  • The Elevator from Ipanema: The local forecasts cued by the viewer's TV provider (via a computer installed in the cable headend, known as a WeatherSTAR) used to feature Muzak in the background. Holiday Muzak would be used in December.
    • This, along with the Fun for Some feel that watching weather forecasts for hours at a time, led to the network releasing compilation albums of their smooth jazz music.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: If Jim Cantore shows up in front of your house - oh, well...
  • Long-Runners: Oh, yes.
  • My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: The reason why the channel has survived over all these years, despite everyone else also having quite competent or even excellent meteorologists on-staff.
  • Network Decay:
    • Many longtime viewers of The Weather Channel have argued that the channel has played this straight in recent years due to the shift away from round-the-clock forecast programming to include more weather-related reality seriesnote . Some have cited that network's original purpose is now largely being filled by weather websites (including TWC's own, and mobile apps that provide weather forecasts, making a reliance on 24-hour forecast programming somewhat obsolete (although TWC does preempt most (if not, all) regularly-scheduled entertainment-based shows during extended storm coverage).
    • The Weather Channel's biggest controversy regarding its programming occurred in 2010, when the network began airing movies on Friday nights. Some of them had only a scant tie-in to weather such as Misery (clearly, they didn't think a little film about storm chasers was suitable to air there). Jim Cantore issued a public apology to his Twitter followers, on one night when the channel aired the film Wind (which was actually about yachting), instead of running extended coverage of a tornado outbreak in the Southeast U.S. This shift to more of an entertainment-based network than a news/information channel was one of the factors in Dish Network threatening to drop TWC that year, the Friday movie block was eventually dropped by the network.
    • And a conflict over more Network Decay developed with DirecTV dropping the channel from the satellite service. The Weather Channel tried to invoke a counterattack against DirecTV, but the satellite provider called out The Weather Channel's decay citing 40% of their programming consists of reality shows and replaced TWC's broadcast feed with a duplicate feed of Weather Nation. (See also: Cable/Satellite Mudslinging above.)
  • Nightmare Fuel: Deliberately invoked during severe weather events, to emphasize that something very bad is coming - and people should seek shelter immediately.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: During serious weather events, everyone on the air qualifies. Hell, even the logo is affected, going from its' normal blue, to red.
  • Oh, Crap!: Any major storm coverage.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When the on-air meteorologists break from the script or broadcasts and start speaking with emotion directly to the people in an affected or threatened area (as Jim Cantore did in 2005 before Hurricane Katrina hit, when he all but said to people "Evacuate, because if you stay here - you are going to die." )
    • Also applied to the 9/11 terror attacks — in which they're very clearly aware of what's been going on (and are clearly trying to hold it together), but can't really cover it outside of noting that international travel was disrupted (and that Disney World was closed).
  • Product Placement:
    • The network has made no effort to hide their endorsement for L.L. Bean outdoor apparel, which the various meteorologists often wear when doing live shots while covering various storms.
    • Jim Cantore even appeared in a commercial for Bosch windshield wipers.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Why Jeanetta Jones left the network.
  • The Rival: AccuWeather launched two of these. The Local AccuWeather Channel debuted in 2005 as an over-the-air network; however, its main downside is that it's content is fully pretaped, meaning that TWC trounces it in regards to providing live coverage during severe weather events. A similar cable network, AccuWeather Network, remedied this when it launched in 2015 at the time of TWC's dispute with Verizon FiOS (AWN's initial carrier), providing live weather content.
    • NBC Weather Plus was created in the same vein as The Local AccuWeather Channel when it launched in 2004; however, while much of its programming was pre-taped, Weather Plus did offer live severe weather content (with help from NBC affiliates around the country) during the afternoon and evening hours. Ironically, NBCUniversal's purchase of The Weather Channel with Bain Capital and Blackstone Group led to Weather Plus' shutdown in 2008, relegating as a shell of its former self under the locally focused NBC Plus banner until 2012.
    • WeatherNation TV launched as this in 2011. Like the other two competitors, it differs from TWC in that it actually focuses on weather 24/7. It initially suffered from being like The Local AccuWeather Channel in offering mostly pre-recorded content, but in 2015, amid complaints about its lack of live coverage, has begun providing real-time severe weather information and reports. The only drawback to WeatherNation's severe weather coverage is that it breaks away to comply with its fixed "wheel" segment format, with over-the-air viewers having to wait 20 minutes to find out if a tornado is on the ground in Kansas or a hurricane has made landfall on the Gulf Coast.
  • Serious Business: Thoroughly averted. Many people depend on The Weather Channel for top-level weather predictions, and look to the channel for life-saving warnings and advisories during serious weather conditions and events.
    • Farmers especially. As long as they exist, TWC will always exist with it. (Indeed, prior to the 2013 retool, many of the ads you'd see on the network were oriented at rural audiences, including Tractor Supply Company, Subaru and LL Bean, which may explain the above-mentioned Product Placement.)
  • Stylistic Suck: One of the commercials advertising their "Weather Underground" programming block is made to look like the opening credits for a late 70's/early 80's sitcom, complete with lower resolution camera effects.
  • Talk About the Weather: Thoroughly inverted, as that's the whole point of the channel.
  • Walking the Earth: Peter Lik, Jim Cantore (for Cantore Stories), and the hosts of Storm Chasers.
  • Weather Report: Whenever reality programming isn't airing, you can tune in to get weather forecasts. Briefer weather forecasts and updates still happen on "Local on the 8's".
  • Weather Report Opening: Again, it's the whole point of the channel, so if they start off with a non-weather related story...
  • Wolverine Publicity: Jim Cantore is made of this trope - and Stephanie Abrams is inching her way into the yellow zone on this one.

Programs aired by the network include:

  • 3 Scientists Walk Into a Bar
  • Cantore Stories
  • Coast Guard Alaska and Coast Guard Florida
  • Fat Guys in the Woods
  • Deadliest Space Weather
  • Forecasting the End
  • From The Edge with Peter Lik
  • Full Force Nature
  • Hacking the Planet
  • Hawaii Air Rescue
  • Highway Thru Hell
  • Hurricane Hunters
  • Ice Pilots
  • Iron Men
  • It Could Happen Tomorrow
  • Lifeguard!: Southern California
  • Natural Born Monsters
  • Prospectors
  • Storm Stories
  • Strangest Weather on Earth