Change In at Weather

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Long known for its buttoned-down approach to tracking rain and snow, The Weather Channel will add some pizzazz this summer with a fresh look, programming featuring attractive, young talent and a new mission of delivering “infotainment” to viewers.

After running psychographic studies and conducting focus groups with subscribers, Weather identified a target segment of well-educated, high-income viewers that it describes as “vitalists.” These viewers, who scale slightly more male, are infotainment seekers that have a sense of discovery and frequently pursue weather information, both through the PC and TV, executives said.

“They’re parents, they’re professionals, and they have a need to know now,” said Weather executive vice president of marketing Wonya Lucas.

ON-AIR AUDITIONS

The network will look to draw these viewers with Weekend View, a morning show that will debut this summer with new studio host Dau Vu and roving reporter Stephanie Abrams. Vu recently joined Weather after leaving syndicated gossip show The Daily Buzz, while Abrams made a name for herself last year at the network by ducking debris when filing live hurricane reports from the field.

Weekend View will also feature “Weather Wannabe” segments in which Abrams will allow on-site viewers to audition to become meteorologists. The program, set to premiere in July or August, will run Saturdays and Sundays, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The Weather Channel Cos. president Debora Wilson said the new programming and branding strategy is designed to bring “a little more attitude” to the channel.

Weather also plans to kick of a new branding campaign this summer that features a new logo and tagline, “Bringing weather to life.” The new logos and promos use a window theme that executives said builds on the emotional connections that viewers have with weather.

The window offers forecasts of the future, glimpses of past weather-derived memories and “inspires a vision of the possibilities,” the network said.

While the service’s current logo features a blue window with rounded curves — shaped like an old analog TV — the new one is rectangular, which company executives said better reflects how the network now delivers content across multiple platforms.

'HEROES’ SPECIALS

The network hopes to tap into viewers’ emotional connection with the weather with If It Happens Tomorrow, a series that will recount some of America’s worst natural disasters and examine whether those events could happen again in more populated areas.

TWC will also run a week of specials beginning April 10 called Heroes of the Storm, featuring 10 of the wildest rescue stories from its Storm Stories series, and update viewers with “where are they now” profiles of heroes featured in the original episodes.

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