Good Morning Britain lost 80,000 viewers the day after Piers Morgan sensationally quit while its rival BBC Breakfast’s audience grew by 200,000.
The outspoken GMB host walked off set then quit over his stance on Meghan Markle after helping the show he has been on for five years achieve its highest ever ratings on Tuesday this week, with 1.29million viewers compared to the BBC’s 1.25m.
Piers today tweeted his thanks to the GMB team today, praising the team for their ‘hard work and dedication’ that led to them beating their main breakfast TV rival.
He tweeted ‘‘I had one goal when I joined GMB – beat BBC Breakfast in the ratings. On my last day, we did it.’
But within 24 hours of his smash-hit final broacast on Tuesday, Wednesday’s ratings had plummeted to 1.21m while BBC Breakfast took the lead again with an average 1.42m viewers.
Shares in ITV also plunged in the wake of his resignation with almost £200million wiped off the company’s value last night.
This comes as more than 65,000 people have put their names to petitions demanding the popular GMB host to return to his presenting job – with more signing every minute.
Piers dramatically quit as the host late on Tuesday after he refused to apologise for comments he made about the Duchess of Sussex.
It has now emerged that Meghan contacted ITV – reportedly chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall – to complain about Morgan’s comments relating to mental health. Meghan had admitted to interviewer Oprah Winfrey that she had suicidal thoughts in the past.
One petition, called ‘Bring Back Piers Morgan!‘, accused ITV of treating him ‘appallingly’ and another, ‘Keep Piers Morgan on GMB for his common sense approach to life‘, now has more than 113,000 signatures.
And a third, which has been signed by more than 39,000 people, describes getting him sacked as ‘an absolute farce’.
Piers happily stopped and smiled for the cameras as he left his west London home with daughter Elise this morning
Overnight, just over 54,000 Britons signed various campaigns calling for the popular GMB host to return to his presenting job
Piers Morgan today tweeted a message of thanks to the Good Morning Britain team
Almost £200 MILLION is wiped off the value of ITV as broadcaster’s shares plunge in the wake of Piers Morgan’s departure
By Matt Oliver, City Correspondent for the Daily Mail
Almost £200million was wiped off the value of ITV yesterday as the broadcaster’s shares plunged in the wake of Piers Morgan’s departure.
The former Good Morning Britain host quit on Tuesday amid a storm of controversy over his comments about the Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
He had co-presented the breakfast programme since 2015 and is credited with boosting its viewing figures, with his combative interviews with government ministers drawing praise during the pandemic.
And as investors yesterday mulled what his departure could mean for ITV, shares in the company fell by as much as 6 per cent.
The stock finally closed down 3.8 per cent – wiping £193million off ITV’s market value.
The commercial broadcaster, which makes most of its money from advertising and producing television programmes, was valued at about £4.9billion yesterday.
Ed Cropley, a financial commentator at Reuters, said the shares drop suggested Mr Morgan’s exit could cost tens of millions of pounds in lost ad sales and that ITV ‘can’t take his departure likely’.
‘Britain’s broadcasters can now put a price on US-style culture wars,’ he added.
Under Morgan and co-presenter Susanna Reid, Good Morning Britain beat arch-rival BBC Breakfast in the ratings for the first time on Tuesday, when it was watched by 1.29million people.
He tweeted this morning: ‘I had one goal when I joined GMB – beat BBC Breakfast in the ratings. On my last day, we did it.
‘That was down to the hard work & dedication of the whole team.
‘They don’t all agree with me, some don’t even like me, but we were a team..and we won.
‘Thanks guys. I’ll miss you.’
On Tuesday BBC got 1.25m viewers, 33.4% share, compared to GMB’s average 1.29m viewers and 35.3% share.
He was in cheery spirits as he left his west London home today, happily smiling for the cameras – as his wife Celia of ten years shared a witty parody video about her husband.
Celia Walden shared the Instagram video created by comedian Alexandra Haddow, which was captioned: ‘Piers Morgan’s wife waking up this morning.’
It shows a woman blissfully waking up before showing her horror as she turns to see her husband in bed beside her.
One petition tells fans: ‘This man has stuck by our NHS when many others didn’t care including our government.
‘He confronts the politicians on questions many of us want answering. He sponsored sir captain Tom £10000 to start him off to support our NHS.
‘Please sign this petition and share it on, give him the support that he has given us as NHS workers.’
Another states: ‘How ITV have treated Piers Morgan after he saved one of their failing shows is appalling.
‘They have thrown him under the bus and allowed him to be bullied by an colleague on air.
‘Piers has turned the show into the most talked about show on ITV.
‘He was the only person who spoke on behalf of viewers during the pandemic and now he’s been bullied by the snowflakes all for speaking the truth.
‘BRING PIERS BACK ITV.’
Another petition, set up in 2019 to ‘Keep Piers Morgan on GMB for his common sense approach to life’ is also gaining momentum.
The total number of signatures for the three polls is now more than 172,411 – up from 110,000 yesterday afternoon.
Former BBC presenter Andrew Neil, who is launching new channel GB News, said he wished to talked to Mr Morgan about a role, saying he would be a ‘great asset’.
Meghan Markle wrote to ITV’s boss to complain about Mr Morgan hours before the GMB co-host quit following an on-screen row with weatherman Alex Beresford.
The Duchess of Sussex insists she was not upset that Mr Morgan said he ‘didn’t believe a word she said’ in her Oprah interview – but was worried about how his comments could affect people attempting to deal with their own mental health problems, an insider told the Press Association.
There has been an outpouring of support for Piers on social media
The programme’s Health Editor Dr Hilary Jones also paid tribute, saying Mr Morgan ‘has a big heart’
GMB wins ratings war with BBC Breakfast on Piers Morgan’s last day
At its peak on Tuesday – just before 8am – Good Morning Britain had 2.2 million viewers tuned in to watch Mr Morgan and co-host Susannah Reid.
Meanwhile, presenters Dan Walker and Louise Minchin on the BBC’s morning show Breakfast pulled in 1.8 million viewers at its 9am peak, figures show.
GMB has only ever beaten BBC Breakfast in the ratings war three times in the past – in September 2014, December 2014 and June 2017.
Standing firm yesterday, following his departure, Mr Morgan told reporters outside his West London home: ‘If I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it.’
On Monday Ms Markle went directly to ITV’s CEO Dame Carolyn McCall, the former boss of the left-wing Guardian newspaper, who signed off on the broadcaster’s £1million deal to show the Oprah interview and said yesterday they were ‘dealing with’ the GMB host.
Mr Morgan is understood to have been ordered to apologise – but he refused and quit instead saying he had the right to tell viewers his ‘honestly held opinions’ and declaring: ‘Freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on’.
Presenting Thursday’s ITV show, Kate Garraway said of her former colleague: ‘He is very passionate. He does fly kites and have debates but it always comes from a place of authenticity.
‘He always believes in what he says.’
She added: ‘He’s left. He’s decided to quit and, as he put it himself, fall on the sword of free speech.’
Garraway, whose husband Derek Draper is in hospital after being admitted with coronavirus last year, said her friendship with Morgan ‘will go on’, adding: ‘He’s been very supportive of me personally.’
And she said of the future of the ITV programme: ‘It’s a different show but the show goes on.’
Morgan’s comments were criticised by mental health charity Mind and prompted Meghan to formally complain to ITV.
Co-host Ben Shephard told viewers: ‘It’s crucial that we all appreciate and understand that right now, particularly in the middle of a pandemic… that the debate about mental health and concern for people… is something that we take very seriously and is hugely important to all.’
How Piers Morgan transformed struggling GMB into ratings juggernaut
Charlotte Hawkins, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid pictured in September 2017
It consistently had lower ratings than Daybreak despite a £1.5million launch a year earlier and high-profile signings such as Susanna Reid from BBC Breakfast, averaging about 560,000 viewers per episode.
Morgan joined the cast following a five-episode stint in April, and helped rocket the ITV show to its ‘highest ever’ viewing figures – which saw an audience of 1.65million people tune in last Monday.
But after a five-year career with Good Morning Britain, ITV today announced the tough-talking morning show host has sensationally quit his role.
Morgan’s resignation from Good Morning Britain marks the end of the latest chapter in his extraordinary career, in which he helped a struggling breakfast show grow into an undeniably popular news and talk programme.
Morgan was often praised for his chemistry with co-host Reid throughout his time at Good Morning Britain, with the latter once explaining the connection between the pair was ‘instant’.
Reid, 50, said in October 2017: ‘He totally wound me up from the moment he joined Good Morning Britain, nearly two years ago. ‘He’s the most annoying man I’ve ever met, but I find working with him exhilarating. Yes, he drives me nuts, but he also makes me laugh – and when the chips are down, and there’s a big news story breaking or we’re doing a controversial interview with a politician, I trust him.’
Reid, 50, said: ‘He totally wound me up from the moment he joined Good Morning Britain. He’s the most annoying man I’ve ever met, but I find working with him exhilarating. Yes, he drives me nuts, but he also makes me laugh – and when the chips are down, and there’s a big news story breaking or we’re doing a controversial interview with a politician, I trust him’
The colleagues quickly became famed for their vicious on-air battles, with Piers’ forthright views also often generating fierce debate and controversy among GMB’s millions of viewers.
For countless Britons, he was must-see TV, celebrated for his no-nonsense approach and for holding Ministers to account throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prior to his five-year stint on Good Morning Britain, Piers made his name in newspapers, becoming at 29 the youngest national newspaper editor in half a century when he rose the ranks of the News of the World in 1994.
The journalist left the paper following the controversial publication of photographs of Catherine Victoria Aitken, formerly Victoria Spencer, Countess Spencer, in 1995.
He later joined rival tabloid the Daily Mirror, but was sacked ‘with immediate effect’ in May 2004 after the newspaper published false images which alleged to show Iraqi prisoners being abused by British soldiers.
The photographs were shown to be fakes within days, and the Mirror claimed it had fallen victim to a ‘calculated and malicious hoax’ when apologising for the publication.
Piers began a distinguished career in television before departing the Mirror, reinventing himself as a CNN presenter in the US where he has a significant following.
He replaced television and radio host Larry King in the network’s evening line-up with his show Piers Morgan Live, which began in January 2011 before ending its run in March 2014.
It was around this time that the straight-talking host began presenting the hugely successful chat show Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, in which he quizzes high-profile celebrities including Sharon Osbourne and Trisha Goddard one-on-one.
The show, which began in February 2009 and is ongoing, has also featured appearances from Elton John, Rod Stewart and Captain Tom Moore – who raised millions for the NHS in a charity walk during the Covid-19 crisis.
Outside the world of journalism, Piers has also appeared as a judge on America’s Got Talent in 2006 and later on the British version of the show. He also won the US Celebrity Apprentice in 2007, which featured former US President Donald Trump.
Moving on from his past success, and today’s departure from GMB, Piers remains a highly popular MailOnline columnist in both the UK and US. He was appointed editor-at-large of the publication’s US operation in September 2014.
Kate Garraway, Piers Morgan, Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York and Susanna Reid in November 2018