Sam Champion's last day at GMA

By Staff Writer 12/04/2013 15:11:00

Sam Champion's last day at GMA

  • Champion, who has been with GMA since 2006, is leaving for the
    W
    eather Channel
  • Ginger Zee will take over from Champion on the top-rated morning show

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 09:54 EST, 4 December 2013 | UPDATED: 10:11 EST, 4 December 2013

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There were lows forecast on Good Morning America today as weatherman Sam Champion bid a sad farewell to his beloved team.

Champion, who has been with GMA since 2006, welled up as he said goodbye to co-hosts Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Lara Spencer and Josh Elliott. Roberts gave him a tight hug while Elliott could not hold back his tears as he tried to sum up his 'bromance' with Champion.

Elliott said: 'I just want to say thank you because it's been a gift each and every day to work with you, Sam. A lot of people talk about our bromance. For me it was just a friendship. I promise there's happy on the inside, but the tears... aw, I'm going to miss you. I love you Sam.'

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Josh Elliott cried as he said goodbye to his fellow presenter Sam Champion on GMA this morning as Robin Roberts looked on

Josh Elliott cried as he said goodbye to his fellow presenter Sam Champion on GMA this morning as Robin Roberts looked on

 
Champion and Elliott hugged it out at the end of the show as they said a tearful goodbye on Wednesday

Champion and Elliott hugged it out at the end of the show as they said a tearful goodbye on Wednesday

Roberts added: 'You encompass all that is good and right in this world and you show it each and every day when you show up here.'

Champion said: 'This is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Let's just go to break.'

The veteran weatherman used his last morning show to pass the baton to fellow meteorologist Ginger Zee, who will take over lead weather responsibilities at GMA.

It was a dramatic last day for Champion in terms of weather as he reported on one of the worst winter storms to hit the U.S. since the late 1990s.

Sam Champion has been with the ABC network since 1988 as weather host

Sam Champion has been with the ABC network since 1988 as weather host

His colleagues put together a montage of Champion's best moments including his coverage of Superstorm Sandy and the tornado which devastated Joplin, Missouri in 2011.

The team had scoured the ABC archives and aired some retro clips of Champion's early days at the station.

The weather presenter howled with laughter as he watched a clip of himself from 1989.

'I sound like Elvis!' he said, before George Stephanopoulos added: 'I like the Doogie Howser haircut!'

Sad goodbyes: Champion (far right) bid farewell to the rest of the GMA team on Wednesday (L-R) Josh Elliott, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos and Lara Spencer

Sad goodbyes: Champion (far right) bid farewell to the rest of the GMA team on Wednesday (L-R) Josh Elliott, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos and Lara Spencer

Champion has been part of the winning GMA team that has seen the show become the most-watched morning program

Champion has been part of the winning GMA team that has seen the show become the most-watched morning program

During the show, Champion tweeted: 'Last morning on @gma ! THANK YOU for being here this am!'

Robin Roberts later posted: 'I'll be easy to spot this morning on @GMA. I'll be the one clinging to @SamChampion's leg screaming: DON'T GO!!! #PartingIsSuchSweetSorrow'.

Champion is set to anchor The Weather Channel's new flagship morning show, which will debut in early 2014.

Based at The Weather Channel headquarters in Atlanta, Champion will also assume managing editor responsibilities at the network.

Champion called his new post 'a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to do what I love most at a network that lives and breathes the weather'.

Champion, who has been with GMA since 2006, and joined ABC-owned local New York station WABC in 1988.

Champion was in fits of laughter as tapes from the ABC archives were brought back to haunt him

Champion was in fits of laughter as tapes from the ABC archives were brought back to haunt him

Sam Champion and Josh Elliott became very emotional as they said goodbye on their last breakfast show together

Sam Champion and Josh Elliott became very emotional as they said goodbye on their last breakfast show together

Ginger Zee, who was on the ground in Denver, Colorado, this morning to cover the severe winter storm, will take over from Champion as weather presenter at GMA

Ginger Zee, who was on the ground in Denver, Colorado, this morning to cover the severe winter storm, will take over from Champion as weather presenter at GMA

'For 25 years, Sam has been a vital member of the ABC News family,' said ABC News president Ben Sherwood in announcing Champion's departure.

Champion has been a member of the GMA anchor team as it seized the ratings crown from NBC's perennially front-running Today show.

Whether his absence from the GMA anchor desk affects its ratings dominance will be closely tracked by morning-TV handicappers.

GMA weather presenter Sam Champion said goodbye to viewers this morning on his last show before he heads to the Weather Channel

GMA weather presenter Sam Champion said goodbye to viewers this morning on his last show before he heads to the Weather Channel

And he leaves the network scrambling to keep intact the rest of its winning GMA ensemble, led by anchor George Stephanopoulos, Josh Elliott, Robin Roberts and Lara Spencer are reportedly negotiating new contracts.

Ironically, in his new role, Champion now joins forces with his former rival, Today weather co-host Al Roker, whose one-hour Wake Up With Al airs on The Weather Channel weekdays at 6am (EST), then repeats at 10am.

Champion's new morning show will be tucked in between, airing from 7 to 10am, the network said.

Meanwhile, Champion will also be in the partial employ (in a sense) of his old network rival: The Weather Channel is owned by a consortium made up in part of NBC Universal.

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