Long-form programming

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Long-form programming on the Weather Channel is programming that is not directly related to current weather news or weather forecasting on the Weather Channel.


The first long-form program to air on the Weather Channel was The Weather Classroom in 1993, which was intended for classroom education under the Cable in the Classroom initiative. The series would air in the middle of the night, the intent being that teachers would record the episodes and replay them during the school day. The Weather Classroom ended broadcasts in 2007.

Long-form programming would not be aired in prime viewing hours until the launch of Atmospheres in 2000, which was dedicated to weather-related featurettes. Over the next few years, numerous programs emerged, including Storm Stories, It Could Happen Tomorrow, and When Weather Changed History. The takeover by NBCUniversal in 2008 marked a change in the long-form programming strategy, programs after this time (especially after 2012) had a more tangential relationship to weather and tilted more towards drama and entertainment.


Reduction of live weather coverage

Fans and regular viewers alike have expressed disdain for long-form programming, as it has slowly chipped away at the amount of time allotted to regular live weather programming on the network.

As of 2021, barring a severe weather event, long-form programming takes up the entire primetime and overnight schedule, as well as the majority of the broadcast day on weekends. This issue is exacerbated in the western regions of the United States, where long-form programming ends at 5 PM Pacific time on weekdays and 10 AM Pacific time on weekends.

Priority over severe weather coverage

Arguably the most controversial aspect of long-form programming, especially in recent years, has been its untimely presence during chaotic severe weather events.

Some of the earliest failures on the part of the network to interrupt long-form programming during severe weather occurred as a result of the network's 2009-2010 Friday night movie block, Flick and a Forecast.

See also