Weather Channel Calls on Congress in DirecTV Dispute

TCA 2014: New hire Sam Champion details new show

Last Updated: July 10, 2014 @ 7:24 PM

The Weather Channel is urging viewers to contact Congress over the network’s carriage dispute with DirecTV, labeling the service vital for public safety.

The media companies are in negotiations to renew their carriage agreement, though no agreement has been reached yet. If a deal is not done by Tuesday, Jan. 14 at 12:01 a.m. ET, DirecTV viewers will lose access to The Weather Channel. The cable network wants its consumers to step in and reach out to their Washington D.C. representatives, insisting on intervention for the safety information that the channel provides.

“For DirecTV to take us off their lineup would be deeply irresponsible to its customers who not only count on The Weather Channel on a day-to-day basis, but depend on us before, during and after severe weather events, said David Kenny, chairman and chief executive office of The Weather Company, parent company of The Weather Channel.”

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He continued, “As the most trusted source of weather news and information in America, The Weather Channel is there when it matters most. If we are not available to DirecTV’s 20 million viewers, they will miss the accurate and life-saving information we have been providing for more than 30 years. We have offered the industry’s best rate for our programming and are committed to reaching an agreement.”

DirecTV fired back: “We remain in discussions with The Weather Channel on how to provide its service to our customers at the best value since people now use so many other ways to retrieve weather-related information. We launched WeatherNation (DirecTV channel 361) as an alternative to provide 24/7 hard news weather coverage in response to numerous customer complaints that more than 40 percent of The Weather Channel’s programming is dedicated to reality television shows. DirecTV also offers city-by-city weather coverage on more than 1,400 local broadcast stations and on DirecTV’s emergency channels in times of severe weather.”

At Saturday’s Television Critics Association press tour panel, a spokesperson for The Weather Channel said of the impasse: “Right now it’s not looking so good,” adding that the channel is asking for a “very negligible increase.”

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In the more conversational portion of the press event panel, The Weather Channel also shared some details of new hire Sam Champion’s upcoming morning show.

Champion’s show will follow Al Roker’s “Wake Up With Al” at 7 a.m., likely debuting in March. And there’s no one else the new host would rather follow: “I love me some Al Roker. We’ve been friends for 25 years — for the first time … we’re actually working for the same place,” Champion said. “I can’t live without Al Roker, I don’t think you can either.”