“Good Morning America” weather anchor Sam Champion is leaving the top-rated ABC morning show for a job at The Weather Channel.
It’s a high-profile hire for The Weather Channel, which happens to be owned by NBC.
Not only will Champion anchor a new morning show on The Weather Channel, but he will also take up the title of managing editor for the whole network, The Weather Channel announced Monday.
Champion, who has spent most of his career in New York, will relocate to Atlanta for his new plum post, according to the Weather Channel press release.
“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,” Champion said in a prepared statement.
“The Weather Channel is currently undergoing an incredible renaissance, having recently rebranded its look and feel and transformed the way it presents the weather,” he said. “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.”
“Sam is already one of the top names in morning television, as well as one of the country’s most respected and trusted weather reporters,” said Weather Channel President David Clark in a prepared statement. “He will add a great deal to our network and be a great addition to our already proven and stellar team of talented weather professionals. With his commitment to understanding, predicting, and explaining the power of weather in our lives, Sam perfectly embodies The Weather Channel’s brand philosophy, ‘It’s Amazing Out There.’”
The new Weather Channel morning show, apparently still untitled, will make its debut early next year, The Weather Channel press release said.
Champion, 52, has been an ABC fixture since at least 1988, when he began a long run as a weatherman on ABC’s local station in New York, WABC/Ch. 7. Promoted to the network in September 2006, Champion also holds the title of weather editor for all of ABC News.
This new position at The Weather Channel potentially turns Champion and Al Roker, his long-time competitor on “The Today Show,” into co-workers since Roker co-hosts an early-morning show on the Weather Channel called “Wake Up with Al.” There was no word on the status of that show or whether Roker will wind up working for (or with) Champion.
There was no immediate reaction or statement from ABC News about Champion’s pending departure.