Could it be any clearer that Sam Champion loves what he does??
It could be a pun to say that Sam Champion is taking the world by storm since, well, weather and storms of all kinds – currently snow storms in much of the U.S. – have been his business for the past three decades. But there’s some truth to that pun based on the out weather anchor’s big move from Good Morning America to The Weather Channel.
In his new role as Managing Editor, Champion will be steering The Weather Channel ship as it continues to be the place to go to for any weather information on national and local levels. He’ll also be anchoring the network’s new multi-hour morning show (revealed this morning via Twitter by Champion as AMHQ) that will launch this Spring on the network.
We sat down with Champion, who is as engaging and gregarious in person as he is on our televisions, to talk about the decision to take the new gig, why weather is sexy and whether marriage changed his relationship with husband Rubem Robierb.
What was the genesis of you joining The Weather Channel? Were you looking to leave GMA or did they come to you?
To be very truthful, and open about this whole process and my life– I think I have been and I’ll continue to be– I wasn’t looking for anything. I’ve been at ABC for 25 years. I never pictured myself doing anything but that, honestly. I think the conversations with The Weather Channel began as an in-theory conversation at first, and the more I heard about what they wanted to do, the more it was exciting and intriguing for me. They’ve taken this whole concept of change, they’ve changed the way that you get weather.
They’ve taken this concept of a cable network channel that is all across the country and they’ve broken it down by zip code to where they can give you your local forecast at the same time, the entire time. So, no longer do you feel like you’re not served by your local weather, while you’re looking at national or regional weather. You are. Your local weather’s right there. Then, if your local town, whether it’s Montana or whether it’s Massachusetts, is going through a weather problem, whether it’s a blizzard or a severe thunderstorm, they have the ability to take their experts, interrupt their programming only for your area, and show you the weather that’s bad in your home town.
We know that everyone else watching the Weather Channel is also getting what they need. If that’s not the most selective service that I have ever seen, in disseminating information… gosh, I don’t know how much better it can get.
Since you’re the Editor, you have a hand with a lot of the shaping of this, I assume?
This is the way I’d like to phrase it, is that there are a lot of really incredibly talented and smart people at the Weather Channel. I get to be one of the voices who talks about what goes on, and talks about how we cover things, and talks about what resources we use, and talks about what gets on the air. I get to be one of those voices, and to me, that’s an incredible opportunity, because a lot of times, in my job, you don’t get to be that voice. Someone else makes the decision about how the story’s going to be told.
I think that when I’ve come along in this business from the ground up, by the way, for 30 years. I have written and edited and turned the lights on, and shot the tape and edited the tape. I’ve done all that. So, when you get to this point in your career, it’s difficult to walk into a room and you say, ‘I’ve got a storm and we need to do this, this, this, this, this,’ and someone else says, ‘Well, that’s not important to us. We’re just going to do this and we’re going to do that, because we’re going to cover something else.’
After a while, you’re like, ‘Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, I believe that this is important. I believe that weather information is news. I believe that weather information is breaking news, and I believe that on any given day, if I have a storm on the map, I can tell you that it is just as important to the people who are beneath that storm, as any other story in your newscast, any other story.’ I found a home that believes that, and it’s the Weather Channel.
The GMA family last year: (l-r) Josh Elliott, Robin Roberts,
Champion, Lara Spencer and George Stephanopoulos
Robin Roberts publicly came out recently. I always thought GMA was probably the gayest of the morning shows, so now it proves it!
Really? Do you have to go there? Here’s the thing, here’s what I don’t like about it. We all sit around and we all make jokes. We all do, with all of our friends, we make jokes like that. What I was striving for through my entire career, and I’m only going to talk about me right now, is to move beyond that, to move beyond it. I don’t think it needs to be a conversation. My feeling was, are we going to have sex? Then we’ll talk about sex. If we’re not going to have sex, then why is sex coming up as a topic of conversation? I didn’t understand it and that was me for a very long time.
Next Page… Champion on his love life becoming a topic of conversation