GMB staff are desperate for ITV bosses to bring back Piers Morgan

GMB staff think bosses should ‘swallow their pride’ and bring Piers Morgan back to boost ratings after show lost a third of its viewers since he left

  • EXCLUSIVE
  • Good Morning Britain staff want Piers Morgan back as host after Ofcom ruling
  • ITV morning show has lost nearly a third of its viewers since he left in March
  • Source reveals ‘growing movement among staff bidding for Piers to return’
  • They say bosses ‘should swallow their pride and do the right thing for GMB’

Good Morning Britain staff think show bosses should ‘swallow their pride’ and bring Piers Morgan back as host following his Ofcom reprieve.

The former presenter, 56, teased that he is open to having his old job back after the media watchdog yesterday cleared him of any wrongdoing after he questioned Meghan Markle’s claims over her mental health.

And his ex-colleagues now want him reinstated as co-host alongside Susanna Reid, 50, to boost ratings, as the ITV morning show has lost nearly a third of its viewers since he left in March.

A show source told MailOnline: ‘There is a growing movement among staff bidding for Piers to return. 

‘GMB really hasn’t been the same without him and now he’s been cleared by Ofcom, they feel there’s no reason why he can’t be reunited with Susanna.

Presenter Susanna Reid talks about the Ofcom ruling on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today

Good Morning Britain staff are desperate for show bosses to ‘swallow their pride’

Mr Morgan, pictured with Ms Reid in March, quit ITV’s Good Morning Britain amid the row

‘They appreciate bosses won’t enjoy making a U-turn but it will be for the good of the show, which to put it bluntly, is in need of saving.

‘They should swallow their pride and do the right thing for GMB.’

GMB has lost a third of its average monthly audience since Piers Morgan quit in March 

Good Morning Britain has lost more than a third of its average monthly audience since Piers Morgan quit in March, MailOnline can reveal today.

The ITV breakfast programme had an average audience of 883,478 in March, but this was at just 570,000 in August – equating to a fall of 35.5 per cent or 313,478 viewers in five months.

This is a much bigger drop than the one suffered by BBC Breakfast, which has lost 227,352 viewers or 15.5 per cent of its audience over the same time period, from 1,468,261 in March to 1,240,909 in August.

Audiences were much higher in March when the country was in its third national Covid-19 lockdown, with GMB overtaking BBC Breakfast for the first and only time on March 9 – the day Piers Morgan walked off set. On that day, 1,290,000 watched GMB against 1,250,000 tuning into BBC Breakfast.

But GMB has lost 86,126 more viewers than BBC Breakfast since March, when comparing this average to the August average. It also has not had a monthly figure above 700,000 since then.

A spokesman for GMB told MailOnline today: ‘Good Morning Britain’s audience share year-to-date stands at 22 per cent, which is in line with 2020, and prior to that, higher than all previous years since launch.

‘GMB continues to perform well therefore in 2021, and is also posting year-on-year increases for family audiences, and 16-34 year old viewers.’

Morgan jokingly asked ‘do I get my job back?’ in a tweet posted shortly after the Ofcom ruling was announced yesterday, which he described as a ‘resounding victory for free speech and a resounding defeat for Princess Pinocchios’.

The media regulator cleared ITV and Morgan after receiving a record 58,000 complaints on the back of his comments about Meghan the morning after her interview with Oprah Winfrey was broadcast in the UK.

During her chat with the US talk show queen, the Duchess alleged her mental health became so bad she ‘didn’t want to be alive any more’ and she did not receive the help she asked for from Buckingham Palace.

Plus, she also claimed that an unnamed member of the Royal Family had queried ‘how dark’ her son Archie’s skin might be.

The Duchess also filed a complaint herself with Ofcom and ITV in response to Morgan’s tirade when the outspoken host said he ‘didn’t believe a word she said’ and that he ‘wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report’.

Explaining their decision to clear Morgan’s of any wrongdoing, the regulator said there was ‘public interest in having an open and frank debate’ on both mental health and suicide, and race.

And on both issues, Ofcom ruled that despite potential for offence Piers’ comments had been sufficiently contextualised by challenges from other presenters and guests and by hosting several contributors who could speak decisively and with authority on racial issues.

Indeed, Morgan’s heated confrontation with weatherman Alex Beresford, who supported Meghan in her claims, caused the host to walk off set before returning to anchor the rest of the show.

And Ofcom also stated Morgan was ‘entitled’ to say he ‘disbelieved the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s allegations and to hold and express strong views that rigorously challenged their account.’

They added that the restriction of such views ‘would be an unwarranted and chilling restriction on freedom of expression both of the broadcaster and audience.’

Despite the outcome in yesterday’s verdict, it was reported ITV, namely top exec Kevin Lygo, had ‘no plans’ to rehire Morgan.

 

Piers Morgan and his wife Celia Walden at the GQ Men of the Year Awards in London last night

A senior GMB source told the Sun: ‘The bosses know they need to give the show an entire refresh and will do so in the next couple of months.

‘That’s not going to involve Piers though, the chances of him returning are slim to zero.

‘Kevin is a big fan and has always said so, but he’s fighting a losing battle internally sadly.’

Speaking on GMB this morning, Morgan’s former co-host Reid admitted the ruling had put her in an ‘awkward situation’.

She said: ‘What struck me about the Ofcom ruling, on the one hand, I’ve got my friend Piers Morgan, and on the other, I’ve got my bosses at ITV.

‘So it’s obviously a slightly awkward moment right now.’

When asked if she was ‘devastated’ Morgan would not be returning to the show this morning, she replied: ‘It was quite a moment, wasn’t it?’

An ITV spokesman was contacted for comment by MailOnline today.

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