Sam Champion came home from vacation just in time to find out that he’s lost his job. The Weather Channel has eliminated his show, along with Al Roker’s, as part of company-wide re-branding effort, The New York Daily News is reporting.
The problem – for Sam Champion, that is, not for The Weather Channel – is that TWC’s website (weather.com) generates more revenue than the cable network itself; way more, according to The Daily Mail. In fact, the cable channel that dates back to the 1980’s and launched its own website, just like every other cable channel, in the 1990’s, is now playing second fiddle to its own website. Or, as CEO David Kenny puts it, “We’re now a technology company that owns a TV channel, not a TV company.”
Of course, that’s small comfort to Sam Champion, who until just a few days ago was enjoying the abundant sunshine of the Greek isles, along with his husband, Rubem Robierb.
Champion, like the rest of his colleagues at The Weather Channel, are now going through a bit of re-branding, as they say in the industry, as his bosses try to move focus away from the cable end of the business and more towards the digital end of the business. That means that TWC is phasing out original programming, like Champion’s America’s Morning HQ, which features news and business content as well as weather content, and Roker’s Wake Up With Al.
In place of original programming, The Weather Channel will henceforth focus on, well, weather. Champion’s old time slot will be absorbed into a new five-hour block of programming, to run from 5:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. (Eastern time), to be produced at TWC’s Atlanta headquarters, with Stephanie Abrams being a “key part” of the morning lineup.
But don’t feel too sorry for Sam Champion: he still has a job at The Weather Channel. After spending 25 years working his way up through the ranks of the TV industry, leaving Good Morning America in 2013 for a job at TWC, Champion has enough clout that his bosses won’t be canning him all together. Instead, he’ll continue to report during prime-time and will have a “presence” in the company’s digital operations.
thanks Karen! I still have a lot of TV work to do!! so please stay tuned https://t.co/wfOqDcvxSX
— Sam Champion (@SamChampion) September 10, 2015
Sam Champion’s last show as host of AMHQ will be on October 30.
[Image courtesy of: Getty Images/Theo Wargo]