|ABC's Lara Spencer, Sam Champion|
He first met about nine months ago with Clark to discuss a major role at the cable channel.
Champion, who has a huge following, was most interested in “branding himself” going forward, a source told Confidential.
“ABC sensed Sam was unhappy months ago, so they started working on Ginger Zee as his replacement,” according to a network insider. “The big reason he is leaving is that he can now appear on merchandise for the Weather Channel. They’re going to plaster his face on raincoats, boots, umbrellas, mugs, hats; you name it. And Sam will get a good chunk of that money.”
At ABC, Champion’s contract was with ABC News. Under that division’s rules, merchandise bearing his image couldn’t be sold, says our source.
“Now he’s set to make millions from merchandise alone,” says the insider.
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