On Monday, TV viewers have a new dilemma over breakfast, watching BBC or flicking over to Susanna Reid and co.
In the past Susanna has been voted Radio Times’ favourite BBC Breakfast host, but now they must choose to follow her to ITV on Good Morning Britain or stick with Bill Turnbull and Louise Minchin on BBC Breakfast.
There was no screen test for the new ITV show, but sitting with Susanna and Ben Shephard earlier this week as they gently mocked each other, the signs are good in terms of on-screen chemistry.
“You are very easy to get on with,” Susanna said after mocking Ben’s excitement over being told his suit looked “fresh” by a show runner. “When I spoke to anyone who had worked with Ben they said ‘he is amazing, you are going to love working with him’.”
Ben says chemistry takes time and can’t be faked. The pair have bonded over shared loves including football.
“The key thing is finding those things you have in common,” he added. “We have so many things, the families, sport, fitness, then immediately you have a connection and it can grow from here.”
Ben and Susanna are joined by Charlotte Hawkins and Sean Fletcher for the new show and they all seem excited and importantly are all unfazed by early starts.
The studio is a neutral affair I am told with some wood and a huge desk. Susanna was also surprised by the number of cameramen and people involved as it is a huge show compared with the sparse BBC Breakfast studio with only one cameraman and computer operated cameras.
The big test is whether more people will like GMB compared to Daybreak.
ITV’s Head of Daytime Helen Warner seems happy with how rehearsals are going and has invested in four presenters who all have a wealth of live TV experience at breakfast time, something that was lacking with
Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles.
She also is clear about the focus of the show being more serious. Earlier this week she said: “One thing that came out of the research was that there wasn’t enough distinction between Daybreak, This Morning and Loose Women. We want to refocus the shows and make sure there is a distinct voice for each. The voice for Good Morning Britain will be news.”
Aside from “news” and “newsy” the other key word I heard most when Ben and Susanna talked this week a was “warmth”.
They appear to be looking to make the viewer more informed, but in a way that is not too stuffy or sterile, perhaps more relaxed than news channels.
As Susanna puts it: “I want people to feel if they have watched 20 mins or half an hour they feel they know what it is important to know.”
Good Morning Britain starts on ITV on Monday at 6:00am.
Mark Jefferies is Showbiz Editor at the Daily Mirror