Sam Champion’s Weather Channel show America’s Morning Headquarters opened to a cloudy future Monday. An average of 207,000 total viewers (64,000 in the news demo) caught Champion’s unveiling from 7-10 AM ET. That’s a 12% decline in total viewers compared with the network’s prior four-week average in the block of time and a 14% demo drop. Champion’s unveiling attracted his biggest crowd at 8 AM: 240,000 viewers (78,000 in the demo). That said, the prior four-week average in that hour was 255,000, so Champion’s best was down 6% compared to the network’s recent performance. It was much the same at 7 AM (199,000 viewers, down 13%) and at 9 AM (183,000, down 21%).
Numbers for other morning shows aren’t apples to apples, because many air 6-9 AM. That said, Champion’s former TV home, ABC’s Good Morning America, logged 5.77 million total viewers Monday morning, according to fast stats, while CNN’s New Day averaged 452,000, MSNBC’s Morning Joe brewed up 339,000, and Fox News’ Fox & Friends dominated with 1.13 million.
While weather plays a role in Weather Channel ratings — and it still cannot be seen on DirecTV, owing to a carriage dispute that broke out in January — Champion’s tepid launch numbers are somewhat surprising, given the amount of promotion his network and parent NBCUniversal put behind his launch, including appearances on Howard Stern’s radio show, NBC’s Today, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Entertainment Tonight, Extra, Inside Edition, etc. Additionally, someone parked a double-decker bus with Champion splashed across the side outside GMA‘s studio that morning, presumably in hope that some of GMA‘s 5.7 million viewers would be reminded of Champion’s debut and change the channel. GMA got the last laugh and fidgeted with camera angles to make sure the bus was not in any shot.
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