Weather Channel Testing German Markets, Drops Al Roker And Sam Champion

While the Weather Channel was making news last week after announcing layoffs and cancellations, the company continues to move forward by testing the waters in Germany.

Although it will only be in app and online form at the outset, News on News reports that German digital publisher BurdaForward is teaming up with the Weather Channel to bring America’s top source for weather to a German audience. As is the focus in America, the currently available Beta-versions of the German apps and websites provide both forecasts and weather-related stories. The full launch is expected to be complete by the end of 2015.

This comes on the heels of the Weather Channel making significant cuts to its American product, as reported by The Los Angeles Times. The Weather Channel, wanting to shy away from reality television and general-interest programming, will no longer carry the shows hosted by recognizable personalities Al Roker and Sam Champion.

Beginning in July of 2009, Al Roker — most famous for his role as the weather forecaster for NBC’s Today — started working on Wake Up With Al for The Weather Channel. Co-hosted by Stephanie Abrams, the program’s last episode is slated for October 2. Weather enthusiasts who felt that the channel was straying from their focus often criticized the show for its inclusion of celebrity interviews. They pointed to this as evidence that the show was more about entertainment than atmospheric changes.

Hanging with my @wakeupwithal partner @StephanieAbrams

A photo posted by Al Roker (@alroker) on

Three years later, the Weather Channel decided to expand the one-hour show to 90 minutes. Two more years later, as the ratings continued to improve, the show was bumped up to a full two hours.

It may have come as a surprise, then, when employees of the Weather Channel learned that neither Wake Up With Al, nor America’s Morning Headquarters (AMHQ) were going to be picked up for another season. AMHQ was hosted by Sam Champion, who also appeared on Good Morning America and Today. Reporting business and news along with the weather, AMHQ was the March, 2014, relaunch of Morning Rush (which was a 2012 relaunch of the twelve-year-old Your Weather Today).

Sam and Maria sharing some Friday love! #happyfriday

A photo posted by AMHQ with Sam Champion (@amhqontwc) on

Champion, who was hired as the Weather Channel’s managing editor after leaving Good Morning America, will remain at the Atlanta-based company. Expected to be involved in the company’s prime time programming, he is also reported to have a role in their digital content as well — further evidence of the company’s new direction.

The last episode of AMHQ is set to air on the Weather Channel on October 30.

[Image by Jason Carter Rinaldi/Getty Images]