The Weather Channel reimagines morning show

  • By David Bauder Associated Press
  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014 6:16pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

NEW YORK — Sam Champion is trying to deliver more than a weather forecast.

The former “Good Morning America” weatherman, who debuted the three-hour “AMHQ” on The Weather Channel last week, says he wants to invent a new kind of morning show. (The show airs weekdays at 7 a.m.) His plan is to appeal to the weather geek while not ignoring the rest of the world, with an agenda driven by social media.

“I don’t know if we have the right answers yet,” he said a few days before the premiere, “but we’re working on it.”

The Weather Channel has put its faith behind Champion, naming him the network’s managing editor along with morning host. “AMHQ” will absorb some aspects of the current morning show, including meteorologist Mike Bettes, with news anchor Anaridis Rodriguez and meteorologist Maria LaRosa as the other featured players.

Morning is prime time at The Weather Channel, which has its headquarters in Atlanta, when many of its fans check in to see what the day has to offer.

“People are already flooding in the door, but they are leaving pretty quickly,” said David Clark, network president. “This is about putting on a full show and getting them to stay.”

That means going beyond the weather to talk a little about news, sports and pop culture. The sports coverage won’t rival ESPN, for example, but it will be enough so people can feel socially competent when they go to work, Clark said.

With news, Champion wants to “forecast the day,” or talk whenever possible about things coming up that will affect the day’s biggest stories. He’d like social media — what stories people are talking about online — to drive his show’s news agenda more than it does for traditional news programs.

The way people consume information has dramatically changed over the past decade and television hasn’t fully responded, he said.

Champion won’t forget the network he’s working for. Each of the show’s three hours will be led by a 15-minute discussion of the day’s biggest weather stories.

“We will cover every weather story with live team reporting, with live images, the best pictures, the best experts and the best graphic forecasts,” he said. “You will have a thorough analysis of every weather story on the board. It is not just a 30-second drive-by of our national weather.”

Just removed from the bitter competition for viewers between the New York-based “Good Morning America” on ABC and NBC’s “Today” show, Champion has an inside view of how they operate.

“The popular morning shows do everything the same way,” he said. “If somebody puts in a social media box, someone else puts in a social media box. If someone does pop news at 8 o’clock, someone else does pop news at 8 o’clock. If someone does ‘Deals &Steals’ at 8:36, someone else does ‘Steals &Deals’ at 8:36.”

For “AMHQ,” “we didn’t sit down and design a show that tries to be like the other shows,” he said. “What we tried to do is design a show that realizes the audience is already partially informed when they turn the TV on. It’s not their first connection to the world. We want to be fast-paced, we don’t want to waste your time, but we want to tell you the things that you’re probably going to want to know more about.”

More in Life

New documentary chronicles Obama’s last year in White House

“The Final Year” doesn’t paint the administration in rosy colors, but it isn’t too critical either.

‘Forever My Girl’ takes a page from the Nicholas Sparks genre

The film based on a novel by Heidi McLaughlin is a well-worn tale of lost love and redemption.

Curries continues home-cooked Indian cuisine at new location

The restaurant, now located on Evergreen Way, also puts an Indian spin on Northwest cooking.

International guitar tour led by Lulo Reinhardt stops in Edmonds

International Guitar Night, now in its 18th year, is Jan. 24 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

New Cascadia Art Museum exhibit showcases mid-century designs

The exhibition includes ceramics, furniture, clothing, sculpture and jewelry from 1948 to 1966.

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Most Read