Ever since BBC Breakfast host Susanna Reid announced her defection to ITV’s Good Morning Britain last week, rumours have abounded over who will replace her. And, if conjecture is to be believed, an early frontrunner to win her spot on the sofa is Rachel Riley – the Countdown host and Reid’s fellow contestant on last year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
According to a “BBC insider” speaking to the Daily Mirror, “Rachel ticks a lot of boxes and is in that stage in her career where she might be ready to try something new.
“After losing Susanna, the BBC know they have to hit back and ensure they can cling on to viewers.”
Early days yet, but the Oxford-educated Riley has more than proved her credentials, demonstrating her mathematical prowess alongside Nick Hewer on Countdown, as well as fronting Channel 5’s The Gadget Show and presenting for Manchester United channel MUTV.
But, according to reports, Riley is not the only one vying for a seat next to BBC Breakfast host Bill Turnbill. Other names rumoured to be in the mix are Channel 5 news presenter Emma Crosby who, as a former GMTV host, has plenty of experience in breakfast telly and existing relief host, Sally Nugent.
Reid will join Ben Shephard, Charlotte Hawkins and Sean Fletcher when Good Morning Britain begins broadcasting in April, taking the decision to join ITV after nine years working on the BBC’s breakfast show, commuting from London to Manchester since the corporation’s move to Salford in 2012.
Her departure follows in the footsteps of Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles who defected to front ITV’s doomed Daybreak back in 2010 before poor reviews and crippling ratings led to the pair’s exit, making way for Lorraine Kelly and Aled Jones to present the early morning offering.