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The Weather Channel Invites Celebrity Forecasters


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Black Forecast for Weather Channel

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Lewis Black

Talk about your severe weather warning. 'Daily Show' resident ranter and self-proclaimed weatherman watcher, Lewis Black is blowing in to the Weather Channel. The comic has been tapped to enliven the meteorologically-minded basic cable staple, taping multiple segments that will begin airing during the evening programming on Wednesday, November 9.

"I'm going to make my transition to weatherman soon," Black joked via phone from his Manhattan apartment. The comic, best known for his Thursday "Back in Black" diatribes on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," is the first of several celebrities the Atlanta-based Weather Channel hopes to recruit to shake up its typical servings of five-day forecasts and storm alerts.

"I had more material on weather than anyone else, I guess," says Black. He claims he was an avid watcher of the channel "back when I was traveling a lot [on the road as a standup comic], between airport security and the weather . . . I just wanted to be prepared for sitting in the airport." So far, Black has taped "five or six" segments, each about two minutes long.

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Lewis Black

"I'm the two-minute guy," cracked Black. Taped on Monday, November 7, one weather riff was on global warming that may become a regular feature. "They gave me free rein," he says. Black, 57, will also get to play with the network's maps and interact with the network's on-air personalities, whom Black calls "terrific." Black remains cautious when he says, "We'll see if it works out."

Black's career has been on a tornadic tear lately. Aside from his Weather Channel and 'Daily Show' gigs, he will appear in two films next year: the political satire, "Man of the Year" with Robin Williams and the high-school slacker comedy, "Accepted."

"Black on Broadway," a DVD of his incendiary standup, was released in January, and he was featured in a cover story in the New York Times Magazine in March. Black also continues to hit the road, with stops next week in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento. And to what does he attribute his increased exposure? "I was rooting for the baby Jesus, and finally he started rooting for me."

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The Weather Channel Brings in Lewis Black

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Lewis Black

The Weather Channel forecast: a high-pressure system of comedy. The cable channel will feature Lewis Black, known for his rants on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" in a handful of segments starting Wednesday, November 9. He's the first in what the Weather Channel hopes is a series of celebrity guests. "We're going to try a few segments to spice things up a little bit," said Terry Connelly, the network's senior vice president and general manager.

Black gets the chance to try out some of the network's forecasting maps and chat on camera with weathercaster Dave Schwartz. He also gets to deliver a few comic riffs on global warming and airport delays, Connelly said. Connelly quietly put out the word recently, asking celebrities to drop by if they're near the company's Atlanta headquarters. Black, a closet weather fan, was quick to reply.

The Weather Channel hopes occasional celebrity guests liven what's often a staid presentation. The network has begun experimenting with a weekend morning show that puts the weathercasters on couches instead of behind desks, and is considering a weekday show that Connelly called a cross between "The View" and Martha Stewart's daytime program.

The Weather Channel does well in the ratings when, say, there's a hurricane, but needs a boost for days of more sedate weather. "Lewis Black on the Weather Channel is unpredictable," Connelly said, "and we're in the business of predictions."

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