NBC Shutting Down Weather Plus

Oct 7, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The sun is setting on NBC Weather Plus, the 4-year-old digital joint venture between NBC and affiliated local stations, which programmed the 24/7 local weather service on their digital channels. The service was one of the first digital projects conceived as a way for a network and its affiliates to work together to create new revenue streams.
NBC News President Steve Capus informed the on- and off-air Weather Plus staff headquartered at CNBC facilities in Englewood, N.J., Tuesday morning that the operation would be phased out in stages through the end of the year.
Mr. Capus said the NBC affiliates board had notified the network last week of its desire to disband the partnership in which the 10 NBC owned-and-operated stations and approximately 80 affiliates have been participating. Only the NBC O&Os had signed on for the online aspect of Weather Plus. “That’s been, quite frankly, frustrating on our part,” Mr. Capus told TelevisionWeek Tuesday.
He said that jointly owned but locally focused Weather Plus would have come to this end even without NBC Universal’s acquisition of a minority stake in The Weather Channel, for which NBC News will assume programming responsibility and with which NBC News already is sharing some content and talent. NBC has been plugging The Weather Channel after some “Today” show weather segments.
“This is a tough business,” Mr. Capus said. “It has not been a profitable business.”
“It’s a very difficult business climate these days. You can’t ignore those realities,” Mr. Capus said. “Even if the Weather Channel acquisition hadn’t happened, this was a business that was challenged. We were going to have to face that at some point.”
Mr. Capus’ news division last year assumed responsibility for Weather Plus after former NBC-owned stations chief Jay Ireland returned to parent company General Electric. Mr. Capus said he reminded the affiliates then that the news division was facing “real financial pressures.”
Although such Weather Plus talent as Jeff Ranieri had become nationally known through appearances on NBC News programs and MSNBC, the fact that about half of the affiliates did not participate in Weather Plus stymied any thought of national advertising sales and meant all ad support had to come only from local markets.
Among the questions that will need to be addressed are those about the disposition of what Mr. Capus calls “pretty cool gear” Weather Plus has, as well as how many employees, including talent with long-term contracts, can or will be absorbed elsewhere in the network.
“I’m a huge fan of Jeff Ranieri and Bill Karins and some of the other folks, and we’re going to look at everybody and make a determination about what we’re going to do,” Mr. Capus said. “There are some real superstars behind the scenes whom we’ll work to move into other jobs. That’s going to be difficult, given the general climate right now, but we’ll do the best we can.”
Among those he singled out for praise is Weather Plus general manager Jeff Thein.
There was no immediate comment from NBC affiliates board Chairman Michael Fiorile, who is vice chairman and CEO of Dispatch Broadcast Group.
However, the general manager of one of the first affiliates to sign up for Weather Plus, who declined to be identified, said he is eager for Weather Plus to go away.

129 Comments

  1. Unfortunately the NBC O&O stations will likely find something else to put on their subchannels rather than eliminate them and restore the HD picture quality the stations had before stealing bandwidth for what many viewers have come to derisively call “Weather Minus.”

  2. I always liked having WeatherPlus available. Just click over to the 5-3 subchannel, wait a minute or so (maximum), and there’s tomorrow’s weather.
    Now, I guess we all have to keep Cable TV, to get the local weather. So much for free, OTA broadcasting!

  3. I am not surprised at this development. In fact, especially in San Diego, where we have NO weather…why waste a perfectly good broadcast channel with such trivia?
    Why not rent out the channel to some worth cause?
    (NON_POLITICAL!!)

  4. . . . or how about presenting The Peacock Channel, an entertainment network availiable over the air utilizing the NBC Universal libraries beyond cable walls. Certainly there’s a place for some of the older titles the studio has in its Universal Television, NBC Studios, and SNL Studios units.
    A February 17 launch would work wonders and deliver on the “more channels” promised in this digital transition.
    Oh, wait . . . royalties. Big Media doesn’t want to pay anybody anything. They didn’t want to pay the writers, and now I hear they don’t want to pay the actors.

  5. I liked having Weather+ for a while only having it for 5 or 6 months, but I will miss Weather+ and I wish the Weather+ Team the best of luck.

  6. I think it’s fair to say we will see some of the Weather + talent take jobs at The Weather Channel. Some of them are certainly very good and should not be lost..

  7. If “NBC News will assume programming responsibility” for The Weather Channel, does that mean that The Weather Channel anchors will tell us that Obama causes the sunny days, while Republicans cause the stormy weather? That’s effectively what’s happening on MSNBC and NBC (NBC News-operated) right now…though not yet with the weather.

  8. I would like to either have my local weather radar on the screen 24/7 or have a WXchannel version just for the NBC stations.

  9. nbc STANDS FOR NO BUSINESS CENTS. tHEY NEED TO FIRE SOME OF THE MSNBC GROUP.

  10. LMAO @ Lawrence’s cap’s lock shenanigans.

  11. To Thurston: NBC is already doing this with their UniversalHD channel, and all of their movies are uncensored too.

  12. Where now will I get my fix of SAMANTHA DAVIES ?? I sure hope she gets re-located into the Weather Channel or the network. What a warm smile. She could tell me rain and it would still be sunshine.

  13. It would have to be anybody’s guess what local NBC affiliates may have planned to take the place of Weather Plus. Some may opt for a local all-news or all-weather channel… or maybe The Accu-Weather Channel (which competes with Weather Plus). While other may opt for RTN or LATV.
    I can’t afford cable or satellite. My local NBC station (WXIA Atlanta) is the only station in its respective market to carry an all-weather channel. I’m really going to miss Weather Plus, especially the ‘Weather Plus University’ show… some of the weather forecasters (Samantha Davies, Britta Merwin, Raphael Miranda, and Jim Nichols).

  14. Capus praised Jeff Thein for running NBC weather into the ground? That’s a neat trick!

  15. I canceled cable two years ago and won’t be going back. Need the money for other bills. NBC should put some of its cable programming on the subchannel, there are millions like me and there will be millions more unless this economy turns around fast.

  16. When everyone is forced to go to an all digital broadcast in 2009 the viewership would have increased. The revenue and usefulness of weather plus would have been more apparent. Shortsighted business plan if you ask me. I would imagine that most sub-channels advertising revenue would increase greatly after the switch.

  17. The Weather Plus Meteorologists would go into depth on historic hurricanes and other weather phenomena. Personally I learned a lot about Earth’s weather system. This particularly helped when I substituted for a professor teaching a course on Natural Disasters – the Hurricane Chapter! I used some of hurricane facts presented by Weather Plus.
    The professionals at NBC Weather Plus will be missed and I hope they will be treated fairly in other job opportunities.

  18. I am a former employee of the original Weather Plus (the first failed version-before NBC assumed rights to the name and then started a new company with it.) I hereby lay claim to the company name and website address so that I too can start a failed venture under the name WeatherPlus.
    Furthermore from this day forward, this comments section will serve as a blog for group therapy for the S.O.D.W.W. (The Society Of Displaced WeatherPlus Workers.)
    As for the promise of Stock Options, which was promised with the first WeatherPlus, let’s all continue to hold our breath…as we have for 7 years now.

  19. Bummer. I’ll really miss Britta Merwin. I hope she ends up on national TV somewhere else.

  20. My wife and I are going to miss Britta too! I hope Jason takes good care of her :- )

  21. The loss of Weather Plus will be a great loss to America. I have used that channel quite frequently to check on the weather conditions when planning my activities for the days ahead, and it was very convenient, being next to my favorite network- NBC. I expected this to happen though; when I heard of NBC’s aquqisition of the Weather Channel, I knew something was up. Too bad for NBC29; now all the business in Charlottesville will go to CBS 19′s AccuWeather channel.

  22. NUTTS!!! I loved weather plus. Living in Oklahoma where there are plenty of weather changes and extremes and owning a business that has to work around the weather, the weatherplus was a huge benefit. No more waiting for local updates. I hope the weather plus staff well for the future.

  23. Systematic killing– leaving the local markets to sponsor a national programming channel. A lot of the locals are already losing news anchors left and right so logically, an untimely death of Weather Plus was inevitable left in local hands.
    Clearly, Wx Plus was nowhere near the money maker The Weather Channel is, which is reason #2 it had to die. BUT— it may not still have produced the revenue TWC would have post digital transition, BUT it certainly would have faired way better than current.
    I really would like SOMETHING weatherwise to fill Wx Plus’s shoes on the digital subchannel. And as of Dec. 31, AccuWeather powered by accuweather.com has stepped in here in Denver as local NBC affiliate KUSA Channel 9′s DT2 replacement. I have had it on my TV for about 45 minutes or so after discovering Wx Plus was gone and I have as yet to see one local report that Channel 9′s meterologists used to do.
    Just stay tuned…….

  24. After reading the article on NBC’s reasons, it is obvious that they have no interest in Weather Plus. I am a weather buff but because of the miserable failings of the Weather Channel, the lousy management, poor programming, and a website that has sold space to adservers which has infected my PC a time or two, I quit watching and going. NBC had a winner with Weather+, but would rather shoot themselves in the foot. Now the NBC affiliate here in San Antonio has put on a Mexican Network. Just what we needed another Spanish language Station. If you put Conan Obrien on the Tonight Show, I’m giving up on NBC. He’s an idiot. No wonder your going broke. Your managers are stupid and should have been fired long ago.

  25. Another comment. I watched Weather Plus 1-2 hours a day. Saw all the commercial ads and loved Samantha Davies. She made it interesting and believable. What will happen to her and the other Weather Team that I liked so much. NBC has made another big mistake.

  26. COMCAST SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. I second Eric’s comments…and the first time I
    saw Samantha Davies I burned my steak on the grill! The only NBC channel I tune into now is CNBC(owned by GE)…ha!

  28. Hey Wes, Samantha Davies showed up on WBAL-TV in Baltimore this past weekend. Their web site doesn’t show her as a regular. Maybe a temp or an audition.

  29. Hi there, does anyone know where Britta Merwin went to post Weather Plus? I’d “melt” if she returned here to Denver! ;)

  30. Samantha Davies is at NBC’s Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate on weekends. She just started last week.

  31. Yay Sam ! No Rochester snow there.

  32. Well this is a blow taking this channel off and the weatherman off and shows being changed so I have no more reasom to watch NBC anymore

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