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.”