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Posted at 10:30 AM ET, 07/13/2009

Weather Channel Launches New Morning Show

By Andrew Freedman
Stephanie_Abrams_194.jpg
The Weather Channel's Stephanie Abrams, co-host of the new program "Wake Up with Al" with the Today Show's Al Roker.

* Some Hot Days Ahead: Full Forecast *

The Weather Channel debuts its newest show a week from today, "Wake Up with Al", the first program to launch since NBC Universal and private equity firms bought the venerable weather network last year. The show pairs veteran NBC Today Show weatherman and nationally known television personality Al Roker with The Weather Channel's (TWC) Stephanie Abrams, who is undoubtedly the most energetic on-air meteorologist on that venerable station, and perhaps on TV anywhere.

In a telephone interview last week, Abrams discussed what she and Roker are planning for the new program, which airs weekdays from 6 to 7 a.m. on the East Coast, and then repeats for West Coast early risers a few hours later.

Keep reading for more thoughts from Stephanie Abrams, co-host of the "Waking Up with Al" show on TWC...

"I really cannot wait to get it going and be working with Al every day," Abrams said, noting that the 3 o'clock wake up call has not been a problem for her. "I don't know what's wrong with me," she said. "I like it." Abrams had previously been co-hosting TWC's prime time evening program "Abrams and Bettes" with Mike Bettes, with whom she will now co-host mid-morning programming from 7 to 11 a.m.

Unlike most other TWC programming, the morning show aims to provide viewers with a wider array of information than just weather, and to have a lot of fun while doing so. Abrams said "the heart" of the program would still be the weather, but that there would also be news headlines and weather business stories included as well. In addition, Abrams said there might be some climate news headlines.

Abrams, who sounded on the phone like she had drank several Red Bull energy drinks moments before the interview, said the program would be "fast-paced" in order to avoid lulling people back to sleep, and will involve special celebrity guests who may be asked to try their hand at doing the weather from time to time.

Roker will be broadcasting from Rockefeller Center in New York, thereby giving him access to celebrities who may be guesting on The Today Show, while Abrams will co-host from TWC's newly revamped studios in Atlanta.

Abrams said one idea is to have a segment where Roker actually calls people to wake them up. In addition, she said the program will feature a "take it or leave it segment" to advise people on whether or not to take a sweater or an umbrella with them to work, for example.

Although TWC has proven remarkably successful over the years, particularly in its online ventures, the station has long struggled with attracting viewers who will watch the station beyond the next "Local on the 8s." The shows "Storm Stories," "It Could Happen Tomorrow," and now "Wake up with Al," are each attempts by the station to change that via long-form programming. "We're always obviously trying to lengthen how long someone is watching the show," Abrams said.

Regarding the new relationship with NBC, Abrams said, "We're definitely going through some changes."

"It's all been very positive and very good and just pumping a lot energy and fun into the Weather Channel."

By Andrew Freedman  | July 13, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Freedman, Media, News & Notes  
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Comments

Another "Bombo-scoop"...I mentioned this in a post a week or so ago...as well as officially "calling" the new El Nino a day or two ahead of NWS...what I saw there was the ENSO index jumping to "moderate positive" some time in the past couple of weeks.


Wonder how this will fit in with TWC's regular schedule and whether we'll still have the seven-day outlook at twenty minutes after the hour, as well as the tropical and non-tropical storm updates at fifty minutes after the hour. I notice they've been occasionally cutting back on these important updates. Sounds sort of like a TWC "Today Show" to me.

...Also, Fox 5 delayed today's weathercast for a "Nats fire Manny Acta" press conference...shame on you, Sue Palka. [Please note: I heard the Acta announcement at wake-up time this morning on WTOP; there was no need to bust the weathercast for that announcement.]

Posted by: Bombo47jea | July 13, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Bombo - rest assured, the new TWC "Today Show," as you called it, will still run the Local Forecast every ten minutes, according to Stephanie Abrams.

Posted by: Andrew-CapitalWeatherGang | July 13, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

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