By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Atlanta-based Weather Company is clearly in cost-cutting mode as its owners consider placing the company - or parts of the company - on the block.
The latest casualty: Al Roker's 5 a.m. show "Wake Up With Al," hosted by Roker and Stephanie Abrams out of 30 Rock in New York City.
TVNewser broke the news Tuesday. Two sources also informed me that the show is over.
This news came about the same time as Vivian Brown's departure announcement. More cuts are likely to come with a possible reduction in long-form programming and more focus on live weather coverage.
Executives deemed the cost of "Wake Up With Al" too high and will bring that hour of programming back down to Atlanta. Who will be the host or hosts is unknown at this point. "Wake Up With Al" is the only live show the Weather Channel shoots outside of Atlanta.
The show is expected to close shop at the end of the month.
A Weather Channel spokesperson declined to comment.
UPDATE: Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015: The New York Post's Page Six reports that right before his show was dropped, he got into an email spat with Weather Channel prez David Clark over coverage and he accidentally sent the email to a vast array of Weather Channel officials. Read more here.
"Wake Up With Al" debuted in 2009. NBCUniversal owns a part of the Weather Company. This was deemed a synergistic move since Roker is an iconic figure on the "Today" show.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that the Weather Channel had hired banks to seek interest in selling the digital business.
Blackstone Group LP, Bain Capital LLC and Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal purchased the company for about $3.5 billion in 2008. Bloomberg sources said the value of the entire operations is now in the $3 billion range.
Currently, it appears the Weather Channel portion of the Weather Company is not considered its most valuable asset as ratings and reach have declined. The company's digital assets and its business-to-business operations, in comparison, are doing very well.
The Weather Channel was off DirecTV for three months last year in a bruising battle. In the end, the Weather Channel made the unusual concession of apologizing for its rather harsh comments about DirecTV, which wasn't terribly kind either.