If you can't beat them, join them. Unless you're Channel 9. Then you buy them from Channel 4.
Yes, just one day after they signed Gary England to a new contract, we're hearing rumbles through the Ogle Mole Network that KWTV News 9 has poached popular weatherman and stormchaser David Payne from the KFOR Channel 4 weather team.
News 9 is apparently making the move to combat stagnant ratings and help prepare for the day when Lord England retires to his Severe Weather Palace in Edmond. If this rumor is true, and we think it is, it will come just 14-months after KWTV signed longtime KFOR chopper pilot Jim Gardner to a lucrative contract.
According to one email we received, Payne informed his colleagues at Channel 4 of his decision to leave yesterday morning. Upon hearing the news, Mike Morgan's severe weather tie burst into hot flames and he had to be doused with water. From the back of the room, Emily Sutton slowly stood and said "I'll chase the storms now, Mr. Morgan. I'll chase the storms."
Payne will allegedly start at News 9 in January.
I first heard the news from a high-level Ogle Mole yesterday at around 4:00pm. Over the next couple of hours, emails began to trickle in from the Ogle Mole Network asking why I hadn't written about the story. This is because everyone thinks I just sit around a computer all day waiting for severe weather gossip to report. That's only half-true.
So far, neither News 9, KFOR, David Payne or Gary England have confirmed or denied the report. Gary England is the only one to address the rumor, stating on Twitter that "No retirement.. Just signed a new long-term contract with News 9. You all surprised? I'm really surprised!"
After the jump are a few of the emails I received, along with my thoughts on the situation:
From: LocalSubject: David PayneI'm surprised you guys haven't broke the news that David Payne told KFOR this am at 10:00 that he is going to News 9 starting in Jan.....-From: Name withheldSubject: David PayneYou missed the story, really?????-From: DSubject: Lord EnglandSurprised you have not broke The Lord England story. News 9 broke today with his replacement.-From: 24-year-old PatrickSubject: DissappointedCan you believe that your life has devolved to the point that you spend your nights speculating which news channel an overly-hyper, thrill-seeking weatherman will work at? I better have a lot of sex, because in 10-years you're not going to get laid.
Here are 34-year-old Patrick's thoughts:
• Once again, I have no clue if all this is true, but it sure smells like it. Where there's smoke, there's usually fire, and where there's usually fire there's always a TV news helicopter broadcasting footage back to David Payne. This thing has been confirmed by so many people that it has to be true.
• We have heard that Payne will be groomed to take over the Chief Meteorologist position when and if Gary England ever retires. This probably explained why David Payne turned down the KOCO Chief Meteorologist gig. Being a weatherman in OKC is a big deal, but being the Chief Meteorologist at Channel 9 is something special. It's like being the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, the manager of the Yankees, or the one attractive girl at Henry Hudson's. It's something special.
• I'm not sure if everything's staying the same at Channel 9, but if so, it means their severe weather coverage team would be Gary England, David Payne, Jim Gardner, Val, and the Severe Weather Babes. That's almost unfair. And for fun, they'll have Jed and Mike Armstrong on stand-bye. Unless you like viewing glittery ties or watching Damon Lane piss his paints, why would you watch any other station? The News 9 weather team should have some sort of confetti-filled Miami Heat-type celebration where they countdown all their future ratings titles.
• Seriously, Mike Morgan has to be pissed. First they steal his chopper pilot, then they bring in an Emily Sutton clone, and now the take his Hutch. Next week, I bet Galen Culver moves to Channel 9 to start his "Is This a Really Great State or What?" series.
Anyway, as we learn more about this situation, we'll keep you informed. Now that I'm about to hit the publish button, expect David Payne to change his mind and get cold feet. Then we'll look like Dean Blevins and get the story wrong. That would suck. It also wouldn't be the first time.