NBC fires Weather Channel environmental unit

The layoffs represent about 10 percent of the Weather Channel’s workforce

NBC Universal, the new owner of the Weather Channel, fired the entire staff of the Forecast Earth environmental program during the middle of NBC’s Green Week. Also axed were several on-camera meteorologists.

The approximately 80 layoffs represent about 10 percent of the Weather Channel’s workforce, and were among the first major changes NBCU has made at the weather service since its purchase in September. More layoffs are expected.

The status of long-term leadership of the network remains unclear, the “Washington Post” reported. Among the meteorologists who were let go was Dave Schwartz, a Weather Channel veteran. Also fired were meteorologists Cheryl Lemke and Eboni Deon.

The timing of the firings was ironic, because it came in the middle of NBC’s Green Week, during which the network has been touting its environmental coverage across all of its platforms. Forecast Earth normally aired on weekends, but its presumed last episode was shown on a weekday due to the environmentally oriented week.

The environmental program was hosted by former CNN anchor Natalie Allen, with contributions from climate expert Heidi Cullen. Cullen’s future role at the network is not known.

“While it is always difficult to lose valued employees, we are doing our best to minimize the impact, and remain committed to providing the highest quality content that our viewers have come to expect from the Weather Channel,” NBC said in a statement.