Sam Champion is changing the climate of ABC. After 25 years at the network, the popular anchor is leaving to join The Weather Channel. On today’s Good Morning America broadcast Champion proclaimed his excitement for this new gig, calling himself a “weather geek.”
Here’s what you should know about this morning-show shakeup.
1. He Is Taking on a Managerial Role at The Weather Channel
Becoming managing editor and solo host of a morning show are new ventures for Champion. The cable channel will use Champion’s experience and popularity to try to boost its ratings. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to do what I love most at a network that lives and breathes the weather,” Champion said. He tweeted, “Only an amazing opportunity like this at @weatherchannel cld take me away from my @ABC family of 25 yrs and @GMA #blessedlife”
2. He Was One of the Anchors to Help ‘GMA’ Surpass ‘The Today Show’ in Ratings
In 2012, GMA beat The Today Show in ratings for the first time since the mid-1990s. There is talk that “a generous offer” was made to Champion to remain with the network. ABC execs may be nervous since the chemistry of the anchors on a news program is crucial to its success. Since Champion has many devoted fans, the network must be prepared to lose some viewers who may follow him to The Weather Channel. On Monday, ABC News President Ben Sherwood said, “There’s no replacing Sam. While he is leaving ABC News, he will always be part of our family.”
3. Ginger Zee is Replacing Him
It has already been announced that Ginger Zee, GMA‘s weekend weather anchor, will take over for Champion. On Monday, Zee tweeted, “@SamChampion thank you for your guidance the last 2 years…you can never be replaced but I am so excited for us both in our new endeavors!”
4. People are Comparing His Exit to Ann Curry’s in 2012
Although on different networks, Curry’s departure from NBC is being likened to Champion’s, but hers was nowhere near as positive. While the producers of GMA are already prepping for a Champion’s goodbye party, airing on Wednesday, producers at NBC didn’t even show a highlight reel for Curry on her last day.
5. He Got Married Last Winter
Champion came out in The New York Times last year by mentioning his engagement to photographer Rubem Robierb in an interview. This was the first time that a co-host of a network morning television show came out publicly.