Television weather personality Sam Champion has parted ways with the Weather Channel. In a statement released to the press earlier, the Weather Channel says, “While Sam will always be part of The Weather Channel family, we have mutually agreed to not enter into a new contract. As our managing editor, host of our flagship AMHQ and his pioneering work on ‘23.5 Degrees,’ Sam’s leadership has helped transform The Weather Channel into the dynamic high-quality environment it is today.” The statement added, “We are grateful for his contribution and dedication. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Champion joined the cable weather network in 2014 to anchor “AMHQ.” Despite a tremendous marketing push, the show failed to be the ratings leader the network had hoped for. The debut attracted only 207,000 viewers, representing a 12% drop for the time-slot’s 4-week average. For the 7-10am timeslot, the show ranked 80th in all of cable. The targeted news demo of adults 25-54 was just as poor; AMHQ’s average 64,000 viewers in the group marked a 14% drop from recent showings in the time slot and ranked 78th in all of cable.
In October of last year, Champion was dropped from the show. At the time of that change, Weather Channel head Dave Shull said Champion would focus on “primetime weather reporting and digital projects.” At the time, Shull wrote that Champion would “work to create regular primetime shows that highlight the intersection of new technologies and weather.” In March, Champion launched a new nightly show, “23.5 Degrees.” The show, named after the tilt of the Earth’s axis, was to be a venue where climate change, environmental impacts, and the weather at large would be discussed. David Clark, president of The Weather Channel, said at program launch, “There’s no consistent place on television for leaders and innovators to gather and share their ideas. We felt The Weather Channel, with Sam, should be the natural place for this conversation to happen.”
Champion was best known for his role as weather talent on ABC’s “Good Morning America” which capped-off his 20+ years with the ABC family. Champion was replaced by meteorologist Ginger Zee. Last January, Champion returned to “Good Morning America” briefly to fill-in for Zee who was out on maternity leave. Zee had given birth to her first child at the time, a son named Adrian Benjamin. Some speculated that Champion was trying to return to Good Morning America on a more permanent basis. In the fall of 2015, the NY Post wrote, “Sam Champion tried to return to ABC News when it became clear that his Weather Channel morning show was a failure, but his former “Good Morning America” bosses told him there was no room for him at the network anymore.”