Sam Champion, who spent a quarter century in the New York market and became a popular national weather beacon on "Good Morning America," starts the next phase of his life in Atlanta at the Weather Channel as host of the new morning show "AMHQ" Monday morning, March 17.
The forecast is by no means clear that this will be sunny skies for Champion, who was used to being seen daily by six million viewers on "GMA," the most popular morning show in America.
On the Weather Channel, he may be lucky to draw even one-tenth of that audience. But he'll be on air a lot more, with his face on the marquee. In other words, he's choosing to be a bigger fish in a much smaller pond.
It's a pond he cares about because he loves the weather and he'll be able to lean on a huge force of meteorologists who will cover his favorite topic with a vigor and rigor he could never get on a broadcast network.
Champion will now lead his own team, including Mark Bettes, Maria LaRosa and Anaridis Rodriguez from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. He hopes he can bring some of his "GMA" fans over while keeping the existing Weather Channel fans happy as well.
He is also settling into Atlanta, having rented a place with his husband Rubem Robierb in Midtown. And the Four Seasons feted him last Tuesday with a welcome to Atlanta party, where folks like Ryan Cameron of V-103, Mara Davis ("Atlanta Eats"), city councilman Kwanzaa Hall and former Channel 2 Action News anchor Monica Pearson showed up to wish him luck.
Doing a quick presentation in the ballroom, he introduced several members of his new family. He then flattered the invited guests and the city he has moved to. "You were brought here under false pretenses," he said. "You think you came here to be guests for a party But you are actually here to be booked as guests on our show. You are Atlanta. You are the people who make the companies work here. You are the people who make the government works here. 'The Today Show" is Rockefeller Center. "Good Morning America" I made about Times Square. It's the crossroads to the world. This is our backyard. We have one of the best backyards here. You are our hometown. You are the hometown of AMHQ."
"AMHQ" with Sam Champion, Maria LaRosa, Mike Bettes and Anaridis Rodriguez
7 a.m. to 10 a.m., weekdays starting March 17, The Weather Channel