Ain’t No Change in the Weather, Part 3

It ain’t over ’til it’s over.Yogi Berra, July 1973

Truer words were never spoken especially when applied to the battle between The Weather Channel and DirecTV. It was only just last week when it appeared DirecTV had put the final nail in the coffin of never carrying The Weather Channel again and had even announced its “engagement” to WeatherNation TV. Then, out of nowhere, the whole thing turned around. The Weather Channel will return to DirecTV’s lineup on April 9th.

Perhaps even more surprising in all of this is the extremely conciliatory tone The Weather Channel used in its announcement of its comeback to DirecTV. They not only apologized for letting the dispute become public but have even agreed to cut their “reality” programming in half during prime viewing hours. Taking blame and making big changes are things almost unheard of when such disputes are resolved between corporations regardless of the type of business.

In all of this, I have not yet seen any reporting on what will happen with WeatherNation TV. As I mentioned in the first part of this unintentional trilogy of posts, this is not the first time Paul Douglas will have his channel play second-fiddle to the prettier girl…and this is assuming DirecTV didn’t have an out clause in the agreement announced last week and she gets completely dumped again.

The thing that gets me is something I brought up in my more recent post on this battle…how no media pundits seem to be seeing this as I do that this will not be the last time a big cable or satellite provider uses the threat of putting on something produced or controlled in-house to gain big concessions from an established channel. After all, in a world where the major providers have shown a general willingness to cut off the one-time sacred cow of local network affiliates, how could their C.E.O.s and bean-counters not be looking at this possibility? I certainly would for almost anything excluding the current absolute untouchable, ESPN.

Then again, this brings up something I should probably say to the new people coming in here for my retro/vintage/Americana material and that have bothered to read some of my text posts. Sometimes, I get things wrong. The difference with me is that, unlike most of the country’s pundits these days, I will admit when I blow it. DirecTV just pulled one over my eyes as they played their hand well in convincing me they were going to go full steam ahead with WeatherNation TV. Even worse was how The Weather Channel fooled me in how steadfast they were going to be on their programming. At the moment, all I know for sure is I will be looking forward to when somebody writes a long article or even a book about what really happened behind the scenes between these two companies.

While such a strange occurrence, at least this was resolved with some compromise. It’s too bad we don’t see it more often these days.

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