One of the most famous weathermen in America (and there aren't many) Sam Champion stopped by this morning to talk to Howard about everything from coming out of the closet to his controversial move from Good Morning America to the Weather Channel.
Here are the highlights from Sam's interview:
Good Morning America recently surpassed the Today Show is ratings (the Today Show had been number one for decades). Sam credits the chemistry between the 'on-camera family', GMA was 'more conversational' than Today.
Howard pointed out that Champion and his former GMA colleague Robin Roberts have the two highest Q ratings (a likability survey) of anyone on morning TV, and they're both gay. Sam claimed he doesn't think about that kind of thing, and his whole approach to being gay is pretty low-key.
It was something of an open secret that Sam was gay long before he came out publicly. He recalled a time in the 1990s when many New York radio shows (including Howard's) would talk about this weatherman who was in the closet and hitting up gay clubs. He knew they were talking about him, but didn't seem all that bothered by it.
When he met Rubem Robierb, the man who would become his husband, he still wasn't planning on sitting down for any big interview and announcing 'I'm gay!' At a wedding, Sam and Rubem were having a good time and someone asked 'Are you two getting married?' Sam responded yes and that was his public 'coming out.
He didn't clear it with anybody at ABC, and it didn't really cause him any problems. Coming out to his family, however, was different. He told his parents he was gay in his late twenties and his father, a retired colonel, had issues dealing with it. They didn't speak for two years, but he eventually came around.
He left Good Morning America when the show was on top (it still is), for the Weather Channel. He also occasionally does guest spots on GMA's rival the Today Show, but claimed that it wasn't any kind of f*ck you to his old family. Howard theorized that NBC was freaking out about being number two and wanted to hire Sam away and break up the chemistry on Good Morning America. Sam said NBC owns part of the Weather Channel, but they aren't the major decision makers.
— Sam Champion (@SamChampion) February 26, 2014