The Weather Channel hopes to bring a little more sunshine to its lineup next year by expanding its new Weekend View live talk show into primetime. Weather Channel Networks president Patrick Scott believes the show, which debuts weekend mornings beginning Sept. 17, will increase viewing time among its core 25-54 viewers.
The lifestyle program, hosted by former The Daily Buzz correspondent Dao Vu and Weather Channel meteorologist Stephanie Abrams, will initially run Saturdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. But the network’s game plan calls for it to receive a primetime slot during the second quarter of 2006, replacing Evening Edition.
Scott said Evening Edition would most likely grab the daily 7 p.m. slot, right before reality series Storm Stories.
The network hopes its evolution from a straight weather information to a more relaxed, conversational and personality-driven atmosphere will increase overall viewership.
“Instead of reporting the weather, the show will talk about the weather,” Scott said. “It’s telling the human story [behind weather] in a more conversational, engaging, accessible way.”
Weekend View, which will present live-feed remote broadcasts, stories and segments highlighting the role that weather plays in the lives of viewers, is also expected to increase the amount of time viewers spend with the network. Scott said research shows that viewers currently spend an average of 16 minutes during the weekend 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. period and about 12 minutes in total day.
“We’re blessed with our enormous reach and a lot of people check into the weather channel for forecasts,” he said. “The strategy is to provide something that is more engaging and will increase our length of view.”
Scott added that the show will not repel its traditional viewers who tune in for the latest weather information, as they did in record numbers for the network’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Weather averaged a best-ever 2.2 household rating (1.9 million homes) for total day on Aug 28, the day before the storm made landfall.
Weekend View will provide viewers with local forecasts, as well as weather information for the rest of the world in short segments featuring new graphics and music.
“We will still impart the information, just in a more casual way,” he said. “The literal commodity person who wants to know what it’s going to be like outside at 3 p.m. today will still get their information.”
In addition to the talk format, Weekend View will include specials, weather event coverage, travel, recreation, sports and lifestyle features, plus “The Weather Channel Road Crew” segments hosted by Jeff Mielcarz.