CBS News, Weather Channel Strike Climate Content Alliance

·4 min read

CBS News hasn’t put the same kind of spotlight on weather as many of its rivals, but that may all be about to change as quickly as a shift in the wind.

The Paramount Global news unit is teaming with The Weather Channel to bring more reporting on weather and climate to CBS News programs including “CBS Mornings” and “The CBS Evening News,” as well as the division’s streaming efforts. Some of the most popular Weather Channel personalities — including Stephanie Abrams, Jim Cantore and Mike Bettes — are likely to turn up on CBS News programs in reports that originate from Weather Channel’s Atlanta headquarters. CBS viewers will also get to see augmented-reality technology that helps depict what a specific community might look like while in the midst of a tornado, snow or rain. The two media outlets will also team up to cover weather and climate news in deeper fashion as circumstances warrant.

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“This is a holistic partnership that brings together the scale of both companies’ reporting teams, technologies and audiences,” says Neeraj Khemlani, co-president of CBS News and Stations, in a prepared statement. “In addition to the virtual forecasts and live reporting, we will also collaborate on field reporting and pair our investigative teams to expand our environmental investigative efforts. Together we will deliver deeper coverage of one of the most important stories of our time — the impact of the climate on the communities we live in.”

Astute viewers of “CBS Mornings” will have in recent weeks noticed use of Weather Channel content in some of the show’s program segments.

CBS News has a famously insular culture, but under Khemlani, the division has been bringing prominent outsiders into its ranks. Nate Burleson, the former NFL wide receiver and CBS Sports analyst, joined the network’s morning-news program last year. CBS News recently hired former Washington Post reporter Robert Costa, and he and Post editor Robert Woodward last week delivered an amazing scoop about texts between the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Mark Meadows., a former White House Chief of Staff during the Trump administration that seemed to support the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in 2020.

CBS News and Weather Channel strike their alliance as more companies are trying to provide coverage of changes in the global environment that, unless halted or pared back, will create dangerous conditions for life on the planet. Weather Channel, part of the holdings of media entrepreneur Byron Allen, last year vowed to expand its coverage of shifts in the climate, backed by research that says the bulk of American audiences embrace science on global warming. Fox Corporation’s Fox News Media, meanwhile, has launched Fox Weather, a streaming-video weather service that executives vow will cover changes in the environment and avoid some of the conservative opinions around the issue that have turned up on Fox News Channel. It has even turned up in some hours on Fox Business Network and been incorporated into a so-called FAST channel.

As climate threats become more dramatic, media executives have developed a sense that viewers will welcome coverage of environmental trends as part of regular coverage, rather than insisting it be kept separate in the form of specials and series. Weather Channel has been working to reorient its programming to incorporate more coverage of shifts in the climate. Meanwhile, both CNN and NBC News have active teams devoted to climate coverage that rely on such personnel as Roker at NBC or Bill Weir at CNN.

Two of CBS News’ most direct rivals, have long burnished weather coverage. Both rely on weather anchors on their signature morning shows. Seeing Al Roker on NBC’s “Today” and Ginger Zee on ABC’s “Good Morning America” has become an A.M. ritual for those shows’ audiences. CBS News offerings in recent years have eschewed bespoke weather personalities, often relying on some of the more prominent meteorologists at CBS-owned stations to discuss weather news when situations called for it (Other CBS News morning programs have in the past enlisted weather personnel like Mark McEwen, Dave Price and Marysol Castro).

Now, it seems like some of Weather Channel’s best-known anchors may get a new perch at CBS News. “This new collaboration is designed to offer the CBS News audience the most innovative weather reporting, as well as greater reach for the Weather Channel’s brand,” says Byron Allen, chairman and CEO of the Weather Channel’s parent company, Allen Media Group, in a statement.

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