Sam Champion will say so-long to The Weather Channel in just a few hours, ending his three-year run with the network. Champion’s departure is no surprise; his contract with the Atlanta-based network was expiring and he was not expected to re-up.
“Sam Champion has decided to leave The Weather Channel at the end of this year to pursue new challenges,” the network’s statement reads, thanking him for his “contributions and leadership” as managing editor and anchor/creator of AMHQ and 23.5 Degrees.
Champion is best known as part of ABC’s Good Morning America team, though he spent more than two decades in total with ABC before NBCU successfully poached the longtime GMA weatherman, who left in 2013 to become the managing editor of the Weather Channel.
Champion’s departure came as GMA enjoyed a ratings resurgence as the No. 1 morning program, and as the show was going through contract negotiations with other anchor team members, including Robin Roberts, Josh Elliott and Lara Spencer. Champion returned briefly to GMA to fill in for his replacement, ABC News’ Chief Meteorologist Ginger Zee when she went on maternity leave.
Champion’s first Weather Channel program, the morning show AMHQ, debuted in March 2014, but did not catch on with viewers. While weather plays a role in Weather Channel ratings — and the network could not be seen on DirecTV, owing to a carriage dispute that broke months earlier — Champion’s tepid launch numbers were 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.
He was moved from the timeslot in fall 2015 and debuted late/primetime 23.5 Degrees in March of this year.