The Weather Channel's morning programs featuring its best-known national weathermen — Sam Champion and Al Roker — have been canceled as part of a sweeping revamp at the business, reports say.
The cancellations come as the Weather Channel moves away from reality shows and toward "our unique strength… the weather," making cuts in TV production costs and laying off about 50 staffers, CNN reports
, citing an internal memo.
Champion's three-hour morning show, "AMHQ," which launched just last year, will end Oct. 30; it focused on lifestyle and entertainment segments the station is now moving away from. Its replacement will focus on straight-forward weather storytelling, the internal memo says, CNN reports.
Roker's early morning program,"Wake Up with Al," taped in New York to accommodate Roker's other job on NBC's "Today" show, will fold because the Weather Channel is shuttering its New York studio, according to The Hollywood Reporter
Champion, snatched from ABC's "Good Morning America"
last year, will stay on as full-time host, focusing on prime time and new digital ventures, CNN reports.
Roker's last show will be Oct. 2 and he'll keep making appearances from New York during severe weather coverage. He will also focus on digital projects, according to THR.
With the cable channel bundle coming under increasing pressure, and "skinny bundles" becoming more common, "it's inevitable that channels will be cut," Weather Company CEO David Kenny tells CNN.
"We need to be really clear who we are."
"Over the next several months, you will see us further simplify our branding across all dayparts," Dave Shull, the president of the Weather Company's TV division, said in the memo, CNN reports.
"Regardless of the time of day, our mission is the same — to provide the best weather forecasts and stories, and scientific expert explanations of those forecasts."
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