WGBA Green Bay's "Replacement Weather Guy," a dig
at the second-string referees' bungling of a Monday Night Football call that doomed the Packers, was
brainstormed and executed in about two minutes, says Joe Poss, WGBA vice
president and general manager. The idea came up during a break in morning show
NBC 26 Today on Sept. 25, was kicked
around in the talent and producers' IFB earpieces, and went live a few minutes
later, says Poss, with floor director Tom Legener stepping up as the buffoonish
"It was all last minute and very spontaneous,"
says Poss. "There was no thought to it. Sometimes that adds up to a bad
equation, but this one turned out pretty good."
Poss credits morning director Nick Thompson for hatching the
The clip, which sees Legener forecast a low temp of -200 and
a potential "thunderblizzard hurricane," has graced the home pages of
everything from Yahoo.com to MSN.com and Deadspin.com, and Poss says it turned
up on ESPN and CNN as well, along with countless other media outlets.
Replacement Weather Guy has also set Twitter ablaze, and had 101,000 YouTube
views by noon ET Wednesday.
Journal Broadcast owns WGBA, an NBC affiliate.
While page views on NBC26.com have hit the hundreds of
thousands since the clip went viral, Poss says having a Web hit on his hands
does not translate to a financial windfall. Instead, it's just a fun pick me up
for WGBA staff. "We deal with bad news every day," he says.
"They were able to make light of [the Packers' tough loss] and come up
with a fun response."
The station has been kicking around follow-up ideas, but
Poss believes you only catch lightning in a bottle once. "When things are
staged," he says, "they're staged."