Sam Champion Leaving GMA for the Weather Channel

12/02/2013 at 12:00 PM EST

Sam Champion Leaving GMA for the Weather Channel
Sam Champion
Ida Mae Astute/ABC
After seven years as a morning fixture on ABC, Sam Champion will report the weather on Good Morning America for the last time on Wednesday.

But he'll be taking his act elsewhere.

ABC News president Ben Sherwood announced Monday that Champion, 52, "is leaving ABC News for a new opportunity at the Weather Channel. He will become the on-air face of the network, appearing as a host and serving as managing editor. Sam calls it a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Sherwood added, "Over the years at GMA, Sam has broadcast more than 1,800 weather forecasts. For 25 years, Sam has been a vital member of the ABC News family – joining powerhouse station WABC in 1988 and GMA in 2006."

The Weather Channel is partly owned by ABC rival NBCUniversal, where the longtime ratings champ Today has trailed GMA for more than a year.

In its own announcement, the Weather Channel said of Champion, "The award-winning journalist will anchor the network's new flagship morning show, which is set to debut in early 2014. Based at the Weather Channel headquarters in Atlanta, Champion will also assume Managing Editor responsibilities at the network."

Champion began his career on local TV in Kentucky, where he was born in Paducah. In September 2012 in New York, Champion married Rubem Robierb, now 36, a fine-arts photographer.

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