Thousands of viewers abandon Good Morning Britain post-Piers Morgan

GMB loses a THIRD of its viewers after Piers Morgan quit as rival BBC Breakfast soars back into the lead with nearly 700,000 more people tuning in on Tuesday – while ITV shares fall 1%

  • Good Morning Britain has lost one third of viewers since presenter Piers Morgan sensationally quit last week
  • ITV show has had less than 900,000 viewers for past three days – down from 1.29m on Morgan’s final show
  • Yesterday GMB had audience of 890,000 with 23% share compared to 1.57m on BBC Breakfast with 42%
  • Also having knock-on effect on programmes following after, with Lorraine viewers down from 1.29m to 1.1m
  • ITV’s share price is down 1.03 per cent today or 1.3p at £1.23, having been up as high as £1.27 last Tuesday

Good Morning Britain has lost nearly a third of its viewers since Piers Morgan sensationally quit the ITV show last week after claiming he didn’t ‘believe a word’ Meghan Markle said during her Oprah Winfrey interview.

The ITV morning show has pulled in less than 900,000 viewers for its past three days – significantly down from the 1.29million who tuned in on Tuesday last week for what turned out to be Morgan’s final programme.

That figure represented the first time the ITV broadcast had beaten its long-time rival BBC Breakfast, which had 1.25million, but GMB has since lost 400,000 viewers in just a week to fall well behind in the morning ratings war.

Yesterday GMB brought in 890,000 viewers with an audience share of 23 per cent, compared to the 1.57million tuning into the BBC with a 42 per cent share. The BBC’s peak saw 2.34million watching at 8.15am. On the same day last year – Monday, March 16, 2020 – GMB had an average audience of 900,000 compared to the BBC’s 1.81million. 

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.

It is also having a knock-on effect on programmes following after, with 1.1million people tuning in for Lorraine on ITV at 9.15am yesterday, compared to 1.39million for Morning Live on BBC One in the same time period.

These figures are significantly down for ITV compared to the same time period on Tuesday last week, when 1.29million tuned in for Lorraine – but there was a roughly equivalent 1.36million watching Morning Live. 

Meanwhile ITV’s share price was down 1.03 per cent this morning or 1.3p at £1.23, having been up as high as £1.27 last Tuesday – which was its highest level since February 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic was declared. 

It comes as GMB had a dramatic programme today which saw actress Patsy Palmer shut down her interview after being billed as an ‘addict to wellness guru’, and Reid scolded by former MP Edwina Currie who told the presenter she is ‘not Piers Morgan’ during a heated conversation about the Government’s coronavirus response. 

More than 252,000 people have now signed three separate petitions demanding Morgan should be brought back to GMB, with the totals shortly after noon today being 50,890, 152,548 and 48,840. 

Piers Morgan is pictured near his home in West London last Wednesday, the morning after he quit Good Morning Britain

ITV presenter Ben Shephard (left) presented Good Morning Britain with his co-host Susanna Reid (right) on ITV today

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex in conversation with Oprah Winfrey in their interview which first aired on CBS on March 7

Last Tuesday Morgan quit his role on GMB after he refused to apologise for casting doubts on comments made by Meghan in the interview first shown by CBS in the US on Sunday, and then ITV in Britain the following night.

Morgan’s remarks sparked more than 41,000 complaints to the media regulator. Ofcom also received a complaint on behalf of the Duchess of Sussex herself, who had earlier also sent a formal complaint to ITV. 

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

Ben Shephard, who normally co-hosts the show on Thursdays and Fridays only, has stepped into Morgan’s empty chair this week alongside Susanna Reid. 

Following his exit, Morgan tweeted: ‘I had one goal when I joined @GMB – beat @BBCBreakfast in the ratings. On my last day, we did it. That was down to the hard work and 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.’

Last Thursday, Morgan received the support of his co-host Kate Garraway who said of him while presenting the programme: ‘He is very passionate, he does fly kites and have debates but it always come from a place of authenticity, he always believes in what he says.

‘And he’s left, he’s decided to quit and as he put it himself, ‘fallen on his sword of free speech’, but… I’ve known him a long time before this programme, our friendship will go on, our personal friendship, and he’s been very supportive of me personally.’

Yesterday Morgan called on Britons to ‘stand up for our Queen’ while accusing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex of leading a campaign to paint the Royal Family as a ‘bunch of heartless racists’. 

He tweeted last night: ‘There’s a very deliberate and malicious campaign being perpetrated by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to smear, defame and trash Britain, our Monarchy and the Royal Family as a bunch of heartless racists. It’s disgusting. Time to stand up for our Queen.’

This was yet another chapter in the fallout from Prince Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview with Oprah where the couple suggested that the Royal Family was racist, claiming that one unnamed member was concerned over how dark their son Archie’s skin would be.

Meghan, who is pregnant with the couple’s second child having suffered a miscarriage last year, also opened up about her struggles with mental health during her time with the royals both before and after Megxit.

Speaking after the bombshell interview aired, Morgan said he did not believe the Duchess’s remarks in her interview with Oprah, during which she spoke about her mental health and having suicidal thoughts.

He then stormed off set after GMB weatherman Alex Beresford took exception to his comments about Meghan. Shortly afterwards, he left his role as presenter after refusing to apologise for his remarks. 

PAST 10 DAYS: ITV’s share price is down 1.03 per cent today or 1.27p at £1.23, having been up as high as £1.27 last Tuesday

PAST YEAR: ITV’s share price last week hit its highest level since February 2020 before the pandemic was declared

Bookmakers have made BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire (pictured) the external frontrunner to replace Morgan on GMB

Prince William was the first royal to publicly address the claims, telling reporters while on a royal visit to a school in Stratford, East London, last week: ‘We’re very much not a racist family’.

Piers Morgan with his wife Celia Walden in LA last year

Last week, Morgan warned free speech was the ‘most important’ issue in modern Britain following his exit from the show.   

Morgan wrote last Friday: ‘To all my supporters, I just wanted to drop you a note of thanks. (To all my haters, whatever.) It has been an extraordinary week for me, for Britain, for our monarchy and for our future.

‘Those of you that know me well enough know that, despite my many faults, I’m always willing to stand my ground for the things that I think matter most.

‘My fervent opposition to the Iraq War led to my demise from the Daily Mirror. My outspoken views on the insanity of American gun laws led to the end of my time at CNN.

‘And now I’ve lost my job at Good Morning Britain because I chose not to apologise for disbelieving Meghan Markle’s claims in her interview with Oprah Winfrey.’

Morgan, who is also MailOnline’s US editor-at-large, went on to claim that he was the victim of ‘cancel culture’.

He added: ‘I thus became the latest ”victim” of the cancel culture that is permeating our country, every minute, of every hour, of everyday. Though of course, I consider myself to be neither a victim, nor actually cancelled.

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. 

‘However, I do believe the defence of free speech and the right to express honestly held opinions, is the most important issue of my career, and the most important issue in British society.’ 

Meanwhile, royal warfare erupted again last night after Harry and Meghan revealed deeply private family conversations to a journalist friend.

They told Gayle King that the prince had finally spoken to his father and brother following the explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Hours later, Miss King disclosed on American TV that the talks ‘were not productive’. The breakfast show host also suggested that Meghan was unhappy no one in the Royal Family had thought to telephone her.

And, in a thinly-veiled threat, the presenter said the duchess had ‘documents to back up everything she said on Oprah’s interview’.

The fact the Sussexes chose to reveal sensitive discussions between senior members of the Royal Family met with an icy response from Buckingham Palace.

‘None of the households – the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – will be giving a running commentary on private conversations,’ said a senior royal source. 

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