Al Roker‘s Wake Up With Al weather show was canceled shortly after he and David Clark, president of The Weather Company TV, got into a dispute over email when the network refused to report on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, reports the Maynard Institute.
Clark seemed to have struck a nerve within the company when he stated that Hurricane Erika, a storm developing in Florida, should take precedence over Hurricane Katrina coverage, despite the team insisting on the importance of reporting in New Orleans.
Citing NewsBlues, a subscription-only TV gossip site, the Maynard Institute reported the email exchanges that began last Thursday.
“I don’t understand why Steph Abrams and I aren’t together on the actual anniversary day of Katrina’s landfall in New Orleans. There is nothing happening Saturday in Florida.”
Roker continued to state his opposition to the decision and said viewers of the show could not be fooled into thinking the pending storm in Florida was worth taking precedence over commemorating Katrina.
As he stated his frustrations, he addressed issues with the company:
“The reason we are in the trouble we’re in is an intransigence of management when it comes to a decision and an unwillingness to pivot.”
This remark caused immediate conflict with Clark, who responded:
“We are juggling a lot right now. If you disagree with a decision you are welcome to speak up, you have more than earned the right to do so, but this is out of line and not how we do things here.”
Things got slightly heated when Roker wrote back to Clark with an accidental “reply all” email, which quickly spread through the TV division.
“Really David. You want to try and spank me in front of people. You want to do this?’
Roker apologized for his mistake in sending the email to everyone.
“We are all on edge right now. Don’t mind open dissent when constructive and we want your best thinking on this storm. As you say, let’s get focused on making the best product and move forward and thank you for being on the team.”
Following the ordeal, Wake Up With Al was pulled from the channel.
The Weather Company broadcast reporter Vivian Brown, who had been on the network for 30 years, also said a sudden goodbye on air on Tuesday.
“It is with great disappointment that I have to announce that this is my last TV broadcast on the Weather Channel. I don’t know exactly where I’m going next. I am saying goodbye, for now.”
David Blumenthal, Corporate Communications Senior Director of the Weather Company, said the network would not give a comment regarding the matter, because words between both Roker and Clark were over private email.
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