Weather Is Taking Over the Broadcast Networks’ Evening News — Especially on One Network

Dec 15, 2014  •  Post A Comment

While weather has long played a big part in local newscasts, it’s now taking over the networks’ evening news programs, a trend that’s causing some concern, reports David Bauder at the Associated Press. And there are big differences is how much time ABC, NBC and CBS spend on the weather.

“Over the past five years, the newscasts have essentially doubled the amount of time spent on weather and natural disaster stories,” Bauder reports. “The time has more than quadrupled since the early 1990s, said news consultant Andrew Tyndall, who monitors the content of the broadcasts.”

ABC is the leader in dedicating time to weather events, especially since “World News Tonight” tapped David Muir as its new anchor. In his first three months as anchor, ABC has dedicated 150 minutes to weather stories, compared with 106 minutes for NBC and 69 minutes for CBS.

“The weather is part of the national conversation and it is part of the news cycle,” Almin Karamehmedovic, executive producer of ABC’s “World News Tonight,” told the AP. ”Increasingly, we see it that way. I’m sure the weather is the same as it was 10 years ago, but we see much more of it.”

Video of dramatic weather events makes it appealing to producers, even if the events have limited news value, “NBC Nightly News” executive producer Patrick Burkey told the AP.

Bauder adds, “Others use a more blunt term: weather porn.”

News consultant Tyndall points out that the reports aren’t often accompanied by discussions about climate change, and can’t be explained by an increased frequency of bad weather.

abc world news tonight


  1. Life imitates art: I’d direct readers to last night’s HBO series finale of The Newsroom…for commentary on weather in fictional nightly newscasts.

  2. It is the visuals. Houses falling off the side of cliffs, like last week in the Seattle Area are compelling video that you stop and look at for a few minutes. And with everyone having some access to video cameras, the visuals are more available. And it is much more compelling than watching Nancy Pelosi or John McCain stare at the camera giving a speech.

  3. The lack of local news coverage has resorted to more and more lengthy and detailed weather reports that tell you how to dress and how to drive in addition to individual temperatures usually with one or two degrees of variance. As far as the networks, the subliminal message being sent is one that plays into the climate change message even if they don’t come out and use the actual term. Networks as with local news have more fluff than actual relevant news, more akin to ‘Entertainment’ than broadcast news of years ago. One of the network stories last week had to do with a live performance of “Peter Pan”!

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