During his nine years at CNN, meteorologist Rob Marciano earned raves and a Peabody Award for his work covering disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. Now, as the new co-anchor of Entertainment Tonight, he'll be weathering a different kind of news. Marciano spoke to TV Guide Magazine about the transition from storm cells to stormy celebrities.
TV Guide Magazine: How does a CNN weatherman wind up as Entertainment Tonight anchor?
Rob Marciano: I've been a weather fanatic since I was a kid, and I've worked in meteorology most of my adult life. So that part of it seems odd. But I have watched ET my entire life and the people who have sat in that chair I've respected as talent and as journalists. It's a phenomenal opportunity that has come my way. When word came that there was an opening next to Nancy O'Dell, I said, 'Oh hell yes.' It was a whirlwind that happened during a crazy time, during hurricane season.
TV Guide Magazine: When Superstorm Sandy hit, did you have second thoughts about leaving that world?
Marciano: I know I'm going to miss it. I'll salivate every time a storm spins up. Weather will go from being a profession to being a hobby and something I do every day on my own time. On that note, whenever there is a major weather story like a Sandy or a Katrina, ET is there in some capacity
TV Guide Magazine: Share some of your memorable CNN moments.
Marciano: Hurricane Katrina is certainly at the forefront of my mind, and then Sandy. The BP oil spill. The tornado outbreak two years ago in Tuscaloosa. These are mind-altering events and you can't help but come out of them shaken to your soul.
TV Guide Magazine: Did CNN give you a hard time about leaving?
Marciano: If I had walked in there and said I was going to ABC or The Weather Channel or Fox News they would have felt differently. But considering it's Entertainment Tonight, a blue-chip show that anyone in the business would love to work on, they did not fault me at all for taking the job.
TV Guide Magazine: Have you talked to any of your ET predecessors? Any tips from John Tesh?
Marciano: I haven't reached out to them yet, but I have talked to a few people who came from the cable news business and dipped their toe in the entertainment waters. Brooke Anderson, who's with The Insider, used to be at CNN and she's given me some guidance. No one has regretted diving into entertainment news. Maybe I will give John Tesh a call. I don't play piano but maybe he and I can get together for a little jam session at some point.
TV Guide Magazine: What's the biggest gap in your pop culture knowledge?
Marciano: The teenybopper. I'm clueless. I have completely tuned out of what the kids are listening to and who the boy bands are. I'm assuming that the Backstreet Boys are no longer the "it" group, so I've got to bone up on what the 13-year-old girls are listening to.
TV Guide Magazine: Why have we seen so many weather anchors — like Al Roker and David Letterman — make the transition to entertainment?
Marciano: Weathermen can be versatile and dive into pop culture and entertainment more [easily] than a political journalist. Weather, sports and entertainment, those are topics that are safe conversation. You can say, 'Did you see that about Lindsay Lohan?' or 'How about this weather?'
TV Guide Magazine: So the next time Lindsay Lohan gets in trouble, you can tell us whether it was raining in Los Angeles that day.
Marciano: We can do some forensics weather, yes.