On Wednesday, April 18, The Weather Channel takes viewers back to the wild seas off the coast of America’s 49th state as “Coast Guard Alaska” launches a second season of following the men and women dedicated to rescuing those in need.
For a cablenet once facetiously dubbed “old people’s VH1” for its lineup of weather maps and forecasts, action-reality programming such as this has helped Weather Channel change its prime-time image.
“We didn’t even finish the first season,” Michael Dingley, the channel’s senior vice president of content and development, tells Zap2it, “and we decided to greenlight a second season of ‘Coast Guard Alaska’; the response was that strong.
“Our hallmark has always been to be the superior source for weather in terms of updates and accuracy. We’re always going to have your back if you want weather. … But in prime time right now, we’re finding that folks are looking for something a little more beyond that in the sense of weather, so what we’re creating are these shows that use weather as the elements as a platform to tell compelling stories on.”
But, Dingley says, he’s not trying to tell superhero tales, “where the men are out there doing wonderful, heroic rescues. We want to show people more than that, make them multidimensional, show their home lives, their downtime, their motivation, inspiration, why they wanted to be a Coast Guard person, also the training as well.
“You become further invested, because you realize these people aren’t some strain of superhumans. They’re just like you and me.”