Radio & TV Talk

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TV briefs: Weather Channel co-founder dead, Netflix in Atlanta, Steve Harvey


Posted Monday, January 22, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

John Coleman, a veteran meteorologist who helped found Atlanta-based The Weather Channel more than three decades ago, has died at age 83 in Las Vegas..

He was also the first weatherman on ABC's "Good Morning America" when it launched in 1975. As a weather forecaster over six decades, he spent a lot of time at stations in Chicago, New York and San Diego.

The cause of death was not announced.

He drew up the original business plan for the Weather Channel and convinced Frank Batten, then owner of Landmark Communications, to fund the start up in the early 1980s. Coleman served as CEO and president of the network during the channel's first year of operation in 1982 but Landmark soon forced him out. (Business acumen was not his strength.)

Coleman drew some controversy in his later years when he began questioning climate change. "Not only is the ice not melting, more polar bears are alive and happy today than we’ve had in 100 years,” Coleman  told then Fox News host Megyn Kelly in 2014. The research behind climate change, he said, “is bad, bad science.”

The Weather Channel soon after sent out a note disavowing Coleman's claims.

Today, the network did release a statement honoring Coleman:

Thirty five years ago John Coleman and others founded The Weather Channel to answer a demand for around-the-clock weather information. We will forever appreciate his vision that we continue to this day as the demand for severe weather coverage and hyper-local forecasting is at an all-time high.

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Netflix has been shooting multiple shows in Atlanta: "Stranger Things," "Ozark," "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," "Insatiable" and "House on Haunted Hill," to name a few.

Now it's planning a series of 15-minute comedy specials of up-and-coming comedy acts to be recorded at Terminal West next month.

Among the acts lined up: Aisling Bea, Michelle Buteau, Tim Dillon, JR De Guzman, Sabrina Jalees, Janelle James, Sam Jay, Josh Johnson, Ian Karmel, Jak Knight, Matteo Lane, Max Silvestri, Taylor Tomlinson, Phil Wang, Emma Willmann, and Kate Willett.

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Steve Harvey, who used to do a lot of production in Atlanta but has since moved his home base to Los Angeles, had his current talk show "Steve" renewed for another season.

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Ratings for Fox's Atlanta-produced and based drama "The Resident" after the NFC Championship Game were okay: about 8.8 million viewers sampled it, a huge drop off from who was watching the actual football game but not a big surprise. We'll see if this helps the show when it debuts in its regular time slot tonight at 9 p.m.


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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.