Back in October, we broke the news that David Payne was leaving Channel 4 to become Lord England’s apprentice at Channel 9. Here’s what we wrote:
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.
Okay, so we missed his start date by a couple of weeks. We can’t be perfect.
Anyway, Payne’s last day at Channel 4 was on Friday. According to Moles, he mentioned during his morning weather forecast something to the effect that it was his last day at Channel 4 and that he was moving to Channel 9. After that, he was escorted off the set and out of the building. That’s kind of a shady way to do things by both parties, but I don’t think anyone’s ever accused the television news industry of being a place filled with a lot of class.
Three more thoughts:
• I think David Payne will start tonight and work the 5:00pm and 6:00pm weather broadcasts. Lord England will still be the Chief Meteorologist, handle the 10pm news and lead the station’s severe weather coverage. That could be wrong, but it makes sense. UPDATE BELOW: IT WAS WRONG. When Lord England eventually retires – we’ll probably shut down for a week when that happens — David Payne will assume his duties.
• Channel 9 has basically turned into the New York Yankees of Oklahoma City. Weather coverage is what draws in ratings, and hence brings in advertisers and money. Just look at their severe weather line-up for when May comes around. It’s a mix of home grown talent and high priced free agents. They have Gary England, Chopper Pilot Jim Gardner, two A-list storm chasers in David Payne and Val, other respected weatherman in Jed Castles and Michael Armstrong, and their answer to Emily Sutton in Lacey Swope. Hell, they even have a cute weather intern. Before you know it, their going to unveil a 3D Doppler radar.
• I wonder if Mike Morgan will wear a black bedazzled weather tie to morn the loss of his friend and colleague? He probably should.
Update: Channel 9 made the announcement tonight.