In 2010, ITV took a multi-million pound gamble on Daybreak that didn’t pay off.
Yesterday, they announced a similarly expensive punt, but this time around they are picking TV presenters with a confirmed pedigree to make a new breakfast show called Good Morning Britain.
The first gamble I refer to was of course bringing Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley over from BBC’s The One Show to host Daybreak with hugely expensive contracts.
The show really flopped from the first day in September 2010, with Chiles admitting he didn’t like the early starts and struggled to sleep.
The set was also seen as too bright by viewers and a window with a view of London simply reminded us that it was pitch black outside for half the show.
More crucially, neither presenter had done breakfast TV before – it was a far cry from 30 minutes a day on The One Show – and both were gone just over a year later.
GMTV’s ratings had been falling before Daybreak but this experiment left them with fewer than a million viewers – while BBC Breakfast had double that, thanks initially to Bill Turnbull and Sian Williams who grew the audience, and more recently to Bill and Susanna Reid.
Since then ITV have essentially been using expensive paper to cover the growing cracks in the Daybreak brand.
A new panel of Aled Jones and Lorraine Kelly didn’t work either so now they’re starting again from scratch.
New ITV Daytime boss Helen Warner has swooped to sign four new hosts for Good Morning Britain, which ITV want to start as soon after Easter as possible.
I’m a little biased as I am on friendly terms with Susanna Reid, but there is no question she can present at breakfast and is popular with many viewers from her years on the BBC.
And I’ve never heard a bad word about Ben Shepherd in the TV industry. So with his experience from his GMTV days they have potential as a pairing.
Throw in the other recruits – Sky’s rising star Charlotte Hawkins, who is excellent on Sky News, and new boy Sean Fletcher – and this looks like a breakfast line up of thoroughbreds.
Where Adrian and Christine were unproven on breakfast TV, Warner has picked some tried and tested talent she knows people enjoy watching at that time of the day.
You can’t guarantee they will mould into a perfect team – but she has given herself a much better chance than her predecessors right from the starting post.
Mark Jefferies is Showbiz Editor at The Daily Mirror
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