Fox to Open Weather Channel

July 6, 2021

What’s that saying? “Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining

New York Times:

Later this year, Rupert Murdoch is set to debut Fox Weather, a 24-hour streaming channel that promises to do for seven-day forecasts what Fox has done for American politics, financial news and sports. Not to be outdone, the Weather Channel — granddaddy of television meteorology — announced the creation of a new streaming service, Weather Channel Plus, that the company believes could reach 30 million subscribers by 2026.

Amid a waning appetite for political news in the post-Trump era, media executives are realizing that demand for weather updates is ubiquitous — and for an increasing swath of the country, a matter of urgent concern. In the past week alone, temperatures in the Pacific Northwest broke records, wildfires burned in Colorado and Tropical Storm Elsa strengthened into a hurricane over the Atlantic Ocean.

At CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, average viewership for the first half of 2021 fell 38 percent from a year prior. The audience for the Weather Channel was up 7 percent.

“All the networks are ramping up for this,” said Jay Sures, a co-president of United Talent Agency who oversees its TV division. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that climate change and the environment will be the story of the next decade.” One of his firm’s clients, Ginger Zee, the chief meteorologist at ABC News, now has 2.2 million Twitter followers — more than any ABC News personality besides George Stephanopoulos.

Climate change is a broad-based concern. A Pew Research surveyin April found that 59 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believed that human activity contributes to climate change. (The figure is 91 percent for Democrats and those with Democratic-leaning views.)

Still, some of Fox News’s conservative commentators, including Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, have a track record of downplaying, if not denying, the threat of climate change. The subject has even generated division within the Murdoch family: James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s younger son, rebuked his father last year after Murdoch-owned media outlets in Australia dismissed climate change as a culprit for deadly wildfires that ravaged the country.

Brian Wieser, the lead analyst at GroupM, the media investing arm of the ad giant WPP, laughed at the notion that weather could be considered apolitical. “You would think — except I’m sitting here in Portland, Ore., in 115 degrees,” he said. “I don’t know that it’s an uncontroversial topic.”

Referring to Fox Weather, he added: “How do you address the fact that weather changes are caused to some degree by humans when you have a media property with a history of challenging that fact?”

Fox Weather will be overseen by Suzanne Scott, the chief executive of Fox News Media, and Sharri Berg, a longtime Fox executive who helped launch Fox News at its inception in 1996. Fox declined to make either executive available for interviews. But its spokeswoman said the service would have “a dedicated team of leading meteorologists and experts” that would offer “in-depth reporting surrounding all weather conditions, and we are excited to showcase to viewers what a full-service comprehensive weather platform can deliver beginning this fall.”

2 Responses to “Fox to Open Weather Channel”

  1. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    The posted picture covers the situation.

  2. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    I predict lots of advertising support from fossil fuel companies and the beef industry, for a start.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: