A major member of the "Good Morning America" on-air team — who has been with the show for the past 7 years — is leaving.
"Our friend and colleague Sam Champion is leaving ABC News for a new opportunity at the Weather Channel," ABC News President Ben Sherwood wrote in a memo this morning, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013. "He will become the on-air face of the network, appearing as a host and serving as managing editor. Sam calls it a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Sherwood’s memo continues: "For 25 years, Sam has been a vital member of the ABC News family — joining powerhouse station WABC in 1988 and GMA in 2006.
"Over the years at GMA, Sam has broadcast more than 1,800 weather forecasts. He has traveled to almost every major weather event in the U.S. As many of you know, Sam’s ‘Go’ bag is always ready and his stellar reporting during Superstorm Sandy contributed to ABC’s Peabody Award for coverage of that historic storm."
For its part, The Weather Channel, in its announcement of Champion joining its staff, said: "The award-winning journalist will anchor the network’s new flagship morning show, which is set to debut in early 2014. Based at The Weather Channel headquarters in Atlanta, Champion will also assume Managing Editor responsibilities at the network."
The Weather Channel’s announcment added: "The Weather Channel will debut its new morning show in early 2014, capitalizing on its position of having its strongest viewership occur during the mornings. The multi-hour show will leverage the network’s advancements in local content delivery, as well as its content partnerships, to help Americans get off to the right start daily, ready for any weather condition they may face."
Said Champion in an announcement: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to do what I love most at a network that lives and breathes the weather. The Weather Channel is currently undergoing an incredible renaissance, having recently rebranded its look and feel and transformed the way it presents the weather. While it is an extremely difficult decision for me to leave ABC and my ‘GMA’ family, I look forward to combining my interest in weather reporting and decades of experience to continue making The Weather Channel the premier destination for the more than 46 million weather enthusiasts and beyond. My ABC family could not have been more supportive and gracious during this transition."