Mailbag: What happened to ‘Good Morning America’ weatherman?”

By Rich Heldenfels
Beacon Journal popular culture writer

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FILE - This Oct. 17, 2012, file photo, shows Sam Champion, the weather anchor of ABC's "Good Morning America" program in New York's Times Square. Champion now has a new role as the Weather Channel managing editor, and is readying his new Weather Channel morning program, which debuts March 17, 2014, that will return him to the a.m. scene where he hailed as weather anchor on ABC's New York-based "Good Morning America." (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

You have questions. I try to have answers.

Q: What has happened to Sam, the weather guy on “Good Morning America”? He just disappeared.

A: Actually, Sam Champion moved on to another network. He has joined the Weather Channel, where he will host a morning show beginning March 17.

The show will be called AMHQ With Sam Champion, the letters standing for America’s Morning Headquarters. It will air from 7 to 10 a.m. Eastern time weekdays, live from the Weather Channel operations in Atlanta. Co-hosts will include Maria LaRosa and Mike Bettes, the latter a Tallmadge native and Ohio State grad.

Q: We loved the show “Unforgettable,” about the female detective with the amazing memory. Is it coming back?

A: Look for the drama to begin a third run on CBS beginning April 4. It remains a surprising success, canceled after its first season, then brought back from the dead with a casting and story overhaul for a second season, then picked up for another go-round. Poppy Montgomery stars.

Q: Do you have any information on the change in cast for the current “The Borgias” on Showtime vs. the original cast in “Borgia” also on Showtime? Looks like Seasons 1 and 2 were remade as we saw them on the original series and see some changes in the current series.

A: Instead of being a recasting of a single series, The Borgias and Borgia were two different series covering some of the same historical ground and airing around the same time, albeit in different venues. The Borgias, which aired on Showtime, ran for three seasons beginning in 2011. It starred Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia, who became Pope Alexander VI, and was created by Neil Jordan. Borgia, also known as Borgia: Faith and Fear, was created by Tom Fontana and stars John Doman as Rodrigo/Alexander VI. It has aired for two seasons on Netflix; a third and final season has been shot for eventual telecast.

Since the two series were commissioned at about the same time, there was an attempt to get Fontana and Jordan to join forces, But, Fontana told me once, “We realized ... that we wanted to make two completely different versions of this story. From that point on, I just decided to pretend that the other one doesn’t exist.” The Borgias is now on Netflix, DVD and Blu-ray, and is a digital download on Amazon.com and iTunes. The first season of Borgia is on DVD and is a digital download on iTunes and Amazon.com.

Q: I sometimes enjoy watching the Marx Brothers. In all of their films, and on sitcoms that Harpo appears, Harpo never talks. Was Harpo just acting, or he really couldn’t talk for real?

A: Harpo Marx was famous for his pantomime skills, accented by his not speaking. Besides the movies, his “mirror” act with Lucille Ball made one of the great I Love Lucy episodes. But that was the act: he could speak perfectly well, although he seldom did in public in order to preserve the magic of his character.

Harpo, by the way, was born Adolph Marx, also known as Arthur. He was the second oldest of five performing brothers; the others, from oldest to youngest, were Chico (born Leonard), Groucho (Julius), Gummo (Milton) and Zeppo (Herbert). Gummo was in the vaudeville act but left before the brothers made their mark in movies; Zeppo appeared in five movies with Groucho, Harpo and Chico, but then left the team. All have passed away.

Do you have a question or comment for the mailbag? Write to the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309 or email rheldenfels@thebeacon
journal.com. Please mark the email or envelope with “mailbag.” Letters may be edited for publication. Please do not phone in questions. Individual replies cannot be guaranteed.

Rich Heldenfels writes about popular culture for the Beacon Journal and Ohio.com, including the HeldenFiles Online, www.ohio.com/blogs/heldenfiles. He is also on Facebook and Twitter.


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