Good Morning Britain’s rating war continued yesterday as it recorded 840,000 viewers, having lost almost 40 per cent of its audience on Wednesday since Piers Morgan walked out.
The ITV morning Thursday programme’s popularity did rise from the 800,000 watchers on Wednesday, which had been the lowest recorded by ratings service Overnights.TV over the previous four weeks.
But fierce rivals BBC Breakfast remained steady at 1.49million viewers, the same it had scored for Wednesday’s programme.
Thursday’s programme featured the show being helmed by Kate Garaway and Susanna Reid. When Piers still worked there he never presented the Thursday and Friday shows.
Meanwhile Piers’ latest offering of his Life Stories show earned 2.3m viewers last night, making it the most-watched programme during that slot.
He acknowledged the achievement today, Tweeting: ‘My Life Stories show with Coleen Nolan was the highest-rated of this series & won the 9pm slot by miles. Thanks for watching!’
An ITV source said yesterday’s figures were a rise on the same day last year and they were an improvement on the previous Thursday’s numbers.
In general the GMB audience is now down by 450,000 from the 1.29million who tuned in on Tuesday of last week – which was the first time the ITV broadcast had beaten its long-time rival BBC Breakfast, which had 1.25million.
That episode of GMB turned out to be Morgan’s final programme before he quit the show after claiming he didn’t ‘believe a word’ Meghan Markle said during her Oprah Winfrey interview, first broadcast on CBS on March 7.
The changing figures over the past week suggest GMB has lost hundreds of thousands of viewers who would either not normally be watching breakfast TV, or who had switched from watching BBC to ITV in the morning.
But sources at ITV pointed out that the comparison was being made in the context of last week having the two highest-rated shows since GMB launched in 2014, on the Tuesday and Wednesday.
The latter was presented by Ranvir Singh and Susanna Reid. The sources added that all GMB audience figures are still up year-on-year. Yesterday was also the 14th time this year that the GMB audience has been below 800,000.
A GMB spokesman told MailOnline today: ‘In real terms GMB share of viewing continues to grow. This week so far is up 7 per cent when compared to the same days last year, and year to date share of viewing is up 18 per cent when compared to the same period in 2020.’
Meanwhile ITV’s share price today was up by 1.3 per cent or 1.55p to nearly £1.24 on the FTSE 250 index in London this morning, having fallen to just above £1.22 at the close yesterday.
More than 254,000 people have now signed three separate Change.org petitions demanding Morgan should be brought back to GMB, with the totals this morning standing at 51,763, 153,553 and 49,125.
GMB was hosted yesterday by Reid and Ben Shephard, who was mocked for urging the Royal Family and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to ‘share their truth’ and ‘hopefully start healing’ after private talks were leaked.
ITV’s Good Morning Britain has now lost nearly 40 per cent of its audience since Piers Morgan sensationally quit last week
Kate Garaway joined Susanna Reid for Thursday’s show which had improved ratings then Wednesday’s with Ben Shephard
Piers Morgan is pictured near his home in West London last Wednesday, the morning after he quit Good Morning Britain
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in conversation with Oprah Winfrey in their interview which first aired on CBS on March 7
Shephard, who added that it was important for all parties ‘to be honest with each other’, was accused by Reid of ‘sounding like a Californian therapist’ while Ranvir Singh joked that he needed to get his ‘teeth whitened’.
Morgan’s comments about the Duchess of Sussex’s interview last week led to the highest number of complaints in the TV regulator’s history. The episodes of GMB on March 8 and 9 sparked 57,121 complaints to Ofcom.
Victoria Derbyshire becomes external frontrunner to replace Piers Morgan on GMB
Bookmakers have now made Victoria Derbyshire the external frontrunner to replace Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain. The BBC journalist has seen her odds of hosting GMB cut from 10/1 to just 4/1 after reports suggested ITV bosses were keen on signing her up.
The latest odds from Ladbrokes are:
- Adil Ray – 2/1
- Ben Shephard – 5/2
- Ranvir Singh – 7/2
- Alex Beresford – 4/1
- Victoria Derbyshire – 4/1
- Eamonn Holmes – 5/1
- Charlene White – 5/1
- Charlotte Hawkins – 5/1
- Richard Madeley – 6/1
- Robert Rinder – 6/1
- Sean Fletcher – 6/1
- Kate Garraway – 7/1
- Bill Turnbull – 8/1
- Jeremy Kyle – 8/1
- Rylan Clarke-Neal – 10/1
- Jeremy Clarkson – 16/1
- Steph McGovern – 12/1
- Tina Daheley – 14/1
- Alison Hammond – 20/1
But Morgan responded on Twitter yesterday, writing: ‘Only 57,000? I’ve had more people than that come upand congratulate me in the street for what I said. The vast majority of Britons are right behind me.’
ITV announced Morgan had left the show on the evening of March 9, shortly after Ofcom said it had launched an investigation under its harm and offence rules after receiving more than 41,000 complaints in two days.
It later emerged that Meghan also made a formal complaint to Ofcom about the TV host after he dismissed her account of suffering suicidal thoughts and experiencing racism at the hands of the Royal Family.
Morgan said on-air that he ‘didn’t believe a word’ of her interview with chat show host Oprah when she laid bare claims of her struggles.
She raised concerns with the broadcaster about the effect Morgan’s comments may have on the issue of mental health generally and those attempting to deal with their own problems – and not about his attack on herself.
After a clip aired of Meghan discussing her issues with mental health and suicidal thoughts and royal officials’ knowledge of them, Morgan said during Monday’s programme: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she says. I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report.’
Morgan’s final episode of the show saw him walk off the set after a heated exchange with co-star Alex Beresford, in which Beresford accused Morgan of ‘trashing’ Meghan.
Morgan has stood by his comments and said his departure from GMB was caused by the ‘cancel culture that is permeating our country’.
The complaints about Morgan’s comments far exceed those made about about Celebrity Big Brother in 2018 when ex-Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett alleged she had been assaulted by fellow housemate Ryan Thomas, which prompted 25,327 complaints.
Ofcom received around 24,500 complaints about Diversity’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent last year, which was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
The controversy with Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother in 2007 was previously the most complained about issue, attracting 44,500 complaints.
Bookmakers have made BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire (pictured) the external frontrunner to replace Morgan on GMB
Piers Morgan with his wife Celia Walden in Los Angeles last year. He quit Good Morning Britain on Tuesday of last week
It comes as Morgan slammed American broadcaster Gayle King for acting as a ‘PR mouthpiece’ for the Sussexes to ‘facilitate their ongoing public trashing of our Royal Family’.
Three petitions urging ITV to bring back Piers
- A petition launched after Piers Morgan quit GMB, found here, said he had been treated ‘appallingly’.
- A second petition titled ‘Keep Piers Morgan on GMB for his common sense approach to life’ is seen here.
- Another set up to ‘Save Piers Morgan from being sacked from GMB’ said a decision to remove him would be ‘an absolute farce.’ It can be found here.
Morgan told the CBS This Morning presenter last night to do her ‘job as a journalist and ask them about all the lies they told’ in their interview with Oprah. He added in a tweet: ‘America should hear THE truth.’
Among the claims proven wrong were that Archie had a birthright to be a prince, he wouldn’t get 24/7 security because he wasn’t a prince and that Meghan had not seen her half-sister Samantha Markle in almost 20 years.
It comes after Miss King, 66, backed ITV’s stance over Morgan’s departure from GMB after he refused to apologise for his comments about Meghan, which led to the highest number of complaints in TV regulator Ofcom’s history.
She told her SiriusXM radio programme last Thursday: ‘Piers Morgan is no longer with a job. He stormed off the air after saying that I don’t believe that she had mental illness, I don’t believe she was suicidal.
‘They got over 41,000 calls of people weighing in to say that is not OK, that is not cool. And by the next day, he was out of a job. He said he resigned. I find that a little hard to believe when you had 41,000 calls.’
Miss King also referred to Beresford, who was involved in the moment that saw Morgan walk out last week.
She said: ‘And kudos to his co-anchor, they said it was the weather guy. I wonder if he was the weather guy, but they described him as a weather guy, who spoke out and really let Piers have it on the air, and then Piers stormed off, and now Piers is no longer on the air there.’