Susanna Reid’s much anticipated move to ITV has been confirmed this morning.
Reid, who only recently insisted that the BBC ran through her like a “stick of rock”, is expected to join the newly named Good Morning Britain after Easter as part of a big sofa shakeup by ITV.
Reid, who did not make her scheduled appearance on BBC Breakfast this morning, was unavailable for comment, but a corporation spokeswoman said she had resigned and wouldn’t be seen presenting from Salford again.
Last week she announced that she had separated from her long-term partner and father of her three children Dominic Cotton.
Reid’s move is considered a coup for ITV, but something of a tactical blunder by the BBC who through Strictly Come Dancing built her into one of the hottest properties on British TV.
“In many ways the BBC have scored an own goal – they have opened the door for her to go anywhere,” said one media commentator.
ITV see the popular Reid as the person who can help break the BBC’s domination of the very competitive breakfast slot – though they did have the same expectations of former BBC recruits Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley back in 2011.
Current viewing figures reveal the scale of the task. Last week, BBC Breakfast pulled in an average of 1.5 million viewers each morning, compared to Daybreak’s 500,000.
Reid will be joined by ITV stalwart Ben Shephard and former Sky presenters Sean Fletcher and Charlotte Hawkins.
The 43-year-old Reid has worked for BBC Breakfast since 2004, moving north with the programme in 2012. While the likes of former colleague Sian Williams – whom she replaced as main anchor with Bill Turnbull – decided against the switch, Reid embraced it with the same gusto she displayed on the Strictly dance floor.
Her three-day-a-week train commute – returning to London after the morning show and then back again early evening – saw her dubbed “Superwoman”. Reid laughed it off in a Radio Times column last year: “It’s flattering to be called a Superwoman, but I can only do this because I have super people helping me out. I have always loved being busy. There is that adage that an object in motion stays in motion, while an object at rest stays at rest. My current schedule of hours worked each week probably exceeds a working time directive, but I’m not doing it alone.”
But the gruelling routine, compounded by the demands of the Strictly rehearsals and subsequent tour – and no doubt a hefty pay carrot dangled by ITV (though not the reported £1 million a year) – have persuaded Reid that she needs to be based in London full time.
“I’m delighted to welcome all four presenters to the ITV Breakfast family,” said ITV’s director of daytime TV Helen Warner. “ITV has a first class roster of breakfast and daytime talent both on and off screen and I’m thrilled to be expanding this. I believe we have a top team in place to deliver this and make this a compelling proposition to wake up to in the morning.”
Adam Bullimore, editor of BBC Breakfast, said: “BBC Breakfast is a hugely successful programme and Susanna has been part of that. We are sorry she’s decided to leave and wish her the best for the future”.