ABC’s ratings leader Good Morning America muddled through its first morning after news broke of the first successful raid on its popular on-air team. Weatherman Sam Champion is leaving tomorrow, to become managing editor, a producer, and anchor of a new flagship morning show at The Weather Channel. Not coincidentally, Weather Channel is co-owned by NBC, whose Today show is now regularly getting whomped by GMA, after monopolizing the daypart for years. “Cold weather set to hit even LA and Phoenix — one of many reasons to welcome Sam here right at the start,” George Stephanopoulos said awkwardly at the top of this morning’s GMA broadcast.
“You made headlines yesterday — you were off, but you were not resting,” added Robin Roberts, addressing Champion. “We are so excited for you — a big new adventure for you with your new job at The Weather Channel,” she said. Champion’s GMA colleagues seemed somewhat constrained and sticking-to-script-ish at the top of the broadcast — the news coming as it does while Roberts, as well as Josh Elliott and Lara Spencer also are in contract negotiations with ABC.
“It is hard to step out and make a change — I’m so proud and you’re setting an example for so many of us,” Roberts said (ominously we think, if you’re an ABC News exec), later in the program, as the GMA gang sat around and gabbed about Champion’s new gig. “We want to sometimes try something different — it would have been easy to stay; we know you love us and we love you. But to do this, that lets us know this is what you’re meant to do.”
“I can’t wait to get there,” Champion enthused at the top of the show, calling the new job “an opportunity that I never thought I would get a chance to do.” But, he added, “This place? My home and my heart. And everyone here has been amazing.”
At The Weather Channel, Champion will join his Today rival Al Roker, who used to be America’s fave morning weatherman but these days not so much. Roker currently hosts WC’s 6 AM Wake Up With Al, but, of course, Weather Channel is in the early stages of a re-launch and who knows how that will shake out with Champion coming on board — and Weather Channel just got 100% more interesting for The Reporters Who Cover Television.
On GMA this morning, Spencer promised loyal Champion fans one of those Memory Lane Strolls on Champion’s last day, tomorrow.
“Memory Lane is tomorrow — we’re going to hear a lot more about the new job later in the broadcast, but, right now let’s get to that winter weather,” no-nonsense Stephanopoulos, whose contract is not about to expire, said, getting back to business.
Watch the gang talk about Sam’s new job during today’s GMA: