Entertainment and marketing veteran Sandy Grushow is joining the board of the Weather Co., parent of the Weather Channel cable network and Weather.com
A former chairman of the Fox Television Entertainment Group where he oversaw both Fox Broadcasting and the 20th Century Fox Television production studio, Grushow has spent the last several years associated with MediaLink, a prominent advertising and marketing consulting firm. He was chief content officer of the firm for three years and now serves as its senior content advisor.
"Sandy brings a unique point of view to our board, one that draws from his experience running a studio and a network, as well as his recent work advising companies on their content strategies for new and emerging platforms," said David Kenny, chairman and chief executive of the Weather Co.
Grushow had been working closely with Kenny and the Weather Channel for the past year. In an interview, he said the network doesn't have to be just the place you go for your weather forecast.
Noting that the Weather Channel is fully distributed and that its mobile app has been downloaded 100 million times and its website gets 100 million unique users a month, Grushow said it is an "extraordinarily pervasive and powerful media company."
At the same time, he added, it needs to find a way to broaden its reach and redefine itself to consumers.
"It has the potential to be far more than a utility," Grushow said. "I think there is an organic path for growth for the company that goes beyond science."
As is the case with CNN and big breaking news stories, the Weather Channel sees ratings jumps when there is a storm or a hurricane. Over the last few years, it has made a push to expand its programming efforts to keep viewers coming back even on sunny days.
Last year the network tapped David Clark as its new president. Clark was previously an executive with Madison Square Garden Co., parent of cable channels MSG and Fuse. He brings more traditional programming experience to the network.
Earlier this spring, the Weather Channel unveiled several new series to advertisers, including "Freaks of Nature" about "extraordinary people who possess the power to control, manipulate or conquer nature, performing feats that could harm or kill the average human." Other new programs include "Storm Warriors," which the channel said is about people who "survive and work in the world’s worst weather environments -- weather so bad, no sane person would dare to brave it unless they had to."
The company has also been spending heavily to create original product for its popular Weather.com site. This week it premiered "Brink," a Web drama about eco-heroes trying save threatened species. Next month it launches "The Bucket List," which is a travel show.
The closely held Weather Co. is is co-owned by private equity firms the Blackstone Group and Bain Capital and by NBCUniversal. Greg Blank, a Blackstone principal, is also joining the Weather Co. board.
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