As Josh Elliott leaves Good Morning America for NBC Sports, I wrote at Quartz about NBC’s new approach to morning show success: if you can’t beat them, steal them.
Of course, poaching is nothing new in the morning show wars (CBS hired away Today’s Bryant Gumbel in 1997; he began hosting The Early Show in 1999), but this is a new evolution as media conglomerates have continued to expand. NBC Universal can in essence kill two birds with one stone: fill a vital need in one area of its company (NBC Sports was searching for a viable heir apparent to Bob Costas, the Weather Channel was looking to keep viewers tuned in more than 15 minutes each morning) while simultaneously boosting another property—Today—by damaging a competitor, and the tight-knit five-person anchor team that propelled GMA to first place. Suddenly, two of those five anchors have been snapped up by NBC Universal.
Watch your back, GMA!
US morning talk shows have a new strategy: If you can’t beat them, steal them
Back at TCA winter press tour, I (nope, still not “Walter Scott”) spoke with Sam Champion for this Parade story about being frenemies with Al Roker, his new Weather Channel show AMHQ and why he left Good Morning America:
If I hadn’t taken this opportunity, I’d regret it the rest of my life. I like a challenge.
‘AMHQ’s’ Sam Champion Wants News Coverage to Help People Survive Weather Disasters
As the Weather Channel prepares to launch its new morning show, AMHQ with Sam Champion, I spoke with Champion and Weather Channel President David Clark (in interviews I conducted back at TCA winter press tour) about the network’s plans to keep audiences tuned in for more than 15 minutes.
Almost 10 million viewers tune in—and tune out—each morning. During the first eight weeks of 2014, the Weather Channel network enjoyed an enormous “reach” weekdays between 7 and 10am, with 9.5 million adults 25-54 (the advertising demographic most prized in cable news) tuning in for at least one minute. That number dwarfed the reach of the cable news networks during the same period: 8.3 million for CNN, 7.8 million for Fox News and 5.6 million for MSNBC.
But that morning audience isn’t sticking around. The Weather Channel’s average morning tune-in was 15.15 minutes, compared to 25.12 minutes for Fox News, 24.96 for MSNBC and 15.91 for CNN. “We have enormous reach in the morning, but it’s sporadic,” Weather Channel President David Clark told Quartz. “We felt there was an opportunity to put a big show there and change the relationship from a place where people come to check their weather to a place where people come to get a show and be part of their daily routine.”
Champion also talks about why viewers should watch the network as opposed to just getting weather info from the Weather Channel app, and his plans to expand the scope of the network’s weather coverage.
How the Weather Channel plans to keep you tuned in for more than 15 minutes