Sam Champion on His ‘DWTS’ Exit: ‘Cheryl Has Taught Me to Get Back Into Life’
The forecast turned cloudy for ABC weatherman Sam Champion (Good Morning America) and his pro partner, Cheryl Burke, on Dancing With the Stars on October 10. While the duo was saved by the judges the previous week, Champion and Burke found themselves in the bottom two again during Disney+ night. This time, the DWTS paddle holders unanimously agreed to keep Trevor Donovan and Emma Slater in the competition.
TV Insider was among a small group of reporters who talked to Champion and Burke immediately after the competition finished streaming on Disney+. Read on to see what both Champion and Burke have to say and if they’ll be back for the season finale later this year.
On if the competition being so fierce makes it “easier” to be voted off
Cheryl Burke: “You know, in all these seasons, I don’t think of the other couples. I think, ‘Did I get the best out of my partner?’ I do believe that the judges don’t necessarily compare you to other people given the different styles of dance [on a given night] and some of the celebrities are men and some are women. It’s difficult. They compare you to you. My job is to make my partner improve. It’s the journey. Do I have peace in my heart? The answer to that question is, ‘Yes, I do.'”
Sam Champion: “I feel amazing. Coming in, my goal was to learn a dance, and then, learn another dance. If I stayed for three weeks, I get to learn three dances. If I stay for four, then I get to learn four dances. I was very honest coming into this competition. I said, ‘I’m not the guy going after the Mirrorball. I’m going after a life experience.’ Cheryl’s a dear friend. She can make me look like I’m in motion better than anybody else in the world. And at one point, she was doing that. She also taught me to get back into life, to get back into the game, and she taught me some dances. I’m the happiest guy you know.”
On how it feels to be able to thank his husband Rubem Robierb on-air
Champion: “It’s been a long path. I’ve been out there on that trail for a very long time — 61 years old. [I’m] the first openly gay broadcaster in New York, first openly gay network anchor, first one to get married. There’s a lot of that [now], but I tell you…I hate to see America slide backwards. I think that’s something we can’t allow. To keep [people’s] mental health, we have to let people talk about how they feel. We have to let people be different and understand that being different is okay. We can’t shut that process down. We’ve come too far in America to go back.”
On what their plans are for the rest of the season and into the finale
Burke: “I don’t have the answer to that since we’ve just been eliminated, but I’m pretty sure you’ll see me in at least one more opening number. I don’t know what my future holds for the rest of the season, but I’ll definitely be back for the finale.”
Champion: “I go back to work [in New York]. If [the producers] ask me to come back for the finale, and if Cheryl says ‘Come dance,’ I’ll do it!”
On how their relationship has been strengthened by doing this show
Champion: “I can tell you that rekindling this relationship [with Cheryl] is something that has become very important to me. I don’t intend on letting it go. More than learning a dance step, more than anything else…she has enriched my life just by spending the hours of the day with me.”
Dancing With the Stars, Mondays, 8/7c, Disney+