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, praising them 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 broadcast 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
It comes as –
- Kate Garraway addressed co-host’s departure on GMB, describing him as ‘passionate’ and ‘authentic’;
- Oprah’s pal Gayle King doubles down on claims that Meghan Markle ‘has plenty of receipts’ to back up her explosive interview allegations;
- Angry Prince William publicly slaps down Harry and Meghan as he becomes first Royal to break silence since the Oprah interview and reveals he hasn’t spoken to his brother ‘but will do’;
- GMB loses 80,000 viewers the next morning after Mr Morgan quit on the day it beat BBC Breakfast for first time but rival’s audience soars by 200,000 – as 60,000 sign petitions to reinstate former host;
- Trevor Phillips says Oprah should have asked Harry and ‘remarkably ill-informed’ Meghan about the prince’s ‘own past behaviour and remarks’ on race;
- Mr Morgan thanked his GMB stars and crew after show beat rival BBC Breakfast in ratings war for first time on his last day – as Kate Garraway and Dr Hilary praise ‘authentic’ and ‘big-hearted’ ex-host;
- Sharon Osbourne fiercely defends Mr Morgan on The Talk against backlash from entire panel who say he’s been ‘racist and sexist in coverage of Meghan’.
Almost £200 MILLION is wiped off the value of ITV as broadcaster’s shares plunge in the wake of Piers’s departure
Almost £200million was wiped off the value of ITV yesterday as the broadcaster’s shares plunged in the wake of Piers Morgan’s departure.
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’.
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.
While Tuesday’s figures beat BBC Breakfast for the first time, yesterday’s figures showed the narrowest gap ever between the two shows as viewers tuned in to see the aftermath of the fallout. GMB peaked with 1.75 million viewers and a 41.9% share yesterday.
Piers 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’ has also been 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.
Today, Alex Beresford said he did not want Piers Morgan to quit Good Morning Britain after their heated on-air discussion about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The weather presenter clashed with the broadcaster on Tuesday over his comments about Harry and Meghan’s interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey.
Morgan stormed off set during their conversation before stepping down from the ITV programme permanently later that day.
Addressing Morgan’s departure on Twitter, Beresford said: ‘I didn’t want him to quit, but I did want him to listen.’
The presenter has since reiterated his criticisms and said challenging Morgan’s views was ‘not an outrage’.
‘There is so much that could be said. Piers’ departure sincerely wasn’t the conclusion I was hoping for,’ he said. ‘Over the last few years, Piers and I have had a lively, cheeky on-air relationship.
‘We both wanted to be on the show on Tuesday morning, and, from our very public conversations on Twitter, we both knew how strongly our opinions differed on the treatment of Harry and Meghan pre and post the interview that has split the world.
‘I hoped we could reach a place of understanding. It’s sad that we weren’t able to get there, but challenging his opinion was not an outrage. On this occasion, we have to agree to disagree.’
He added: ‘Personally, Piers has always supported my growth. He’s given me advice on several occasions and for that I am grateful. I wish him well.’
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.’
Bring back Piers! Tens of thousands of fans sign petitions demanding ITV bosses bring back popular co-host after ‘throwing him under the bus’
Tens of thousands of fans have been making impassioned pleas to ITV bosses to reinstate Piers Morgan in his role on breakfast television.
A petition launched after Piers quit GMB said the popular host had been treated ‘appallingly.’
The campaign, set up by fan Sean Browne, adds: ‘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’
Last night, it had some 400 signatures. In less than 24 hours, that number had hit 22,901 – and was increasing by the second.
A second petition started in May last year, titled, ‘Save Piers Morgan from being sacked from GMB’, said any decision to remove him from the show would be ‘an absolute farce.’
It began as critics called for Piers to be sacked from GMB after he held politicians to account over their handling of the Covid crisis, and their lack of support for NHS workers.
It was set up by Emma Gates from Wigan, who urged people: ‘Sadly someone has an ongoing petition to have Piers Morgan sacked from GMB for being too out spoken! This is an absolute farce.
‘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!’
Last night, the campaign had just over 35,000 signatures. Today, the number hit 40,125 and was still climbing.
Another petition was set up in October 2019 to, ‘Keep Piers Morgan on GMB for his common sense approach to life.’
It was started by Margaret Lowry from Cambridgeshire, who wrote: ‘Thank you to everyone for signing this petition. You may not always agree with his ideas and comments but you should not try to stifle free speech and get anyone sacked for their opinions otherwise we’re going down a very dark road! Over 30,000 people have signed. Keep going!’
Fans picked up on the petition in the wake of Piers’ exit and began re-signing it. Yesterday it had little over 72,000 signatures and by this afternoon, it had more than 118,000.
Jake Harrison, from London, wrote: ‘I’m signing this petition because Piers Morgan is a breath of fresh air to breakfast television, as well being a straight-forward man, who stands up up to ridiculous PC-world we unfortunately now live in. KEEP HIM ON!’
TV presenter Ben Shephard voted best replacement
Ben Shephard has pipped Bradley Walsh and Jeremy Clarkson as the best replacement for Piers Morgan, according to a survey of 1,864 adults in the UK.
WHO BRITS WANT TO REPLACE PIERS: THE TOP 10
1. Ben Shephard
2. Bradley Walsh
3. Jeremy Clarkson
4. Alex Beresford
5. Adrian Chiles
6. Alan Carr
7. Eamon Holmes
8. Alison Hammond
9. Amanda Holden
10. Dermot O’Leary
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s press team warned the BBC to be impartial when it covered the Oprah Winfrey interview, reports claimed today.
Correspondents were said to have been sent the bizarre message on Monday, hours before the Sussexes sit-down with the chat show host.
The PR firm is said to have told journalists not to use only ‘white old men’ when analysing the couple’s claims.
One source slammed the stunt as ‘strange’ and they added: ‘This is the UK, not China.’
The latest intervention comes after Meghan wrote to ITV’s boss to complain about Piers Morgan’s coverage – with the popular presenter quitting GMB hours later.
Campaigners yesterday blasted the ‘chilling effect on free speech’ and said they were writing to ITV and Ofcom.
One of the Sussexes’ PRs reportedly warned BBC reporters to use a ‘broad range of contributors’.
A source told the Sun: ‘To be told how to conduct its coverage by a PR person is a bit strange to say the least. This is the UK, not China.’
But the BBC said: ‘We’re contacted by PRs all the time. We had a broad range of voices and don’t believe there are issues.’
The Duchess of Sussex’s decision to intervene in the row came as Mr Morgan doubled down yesterday after leaving GMB.
He called Meghan’s incendiary claims to Oprah about ‘The Firm’ ‘contemptible’ and declared: ‘I don’t believe almost anything that comes out of her mouth.’
He added: ‘I think the damage she’s done to the British monarchy and to the Queen at a time when Prince Philip is lying in hospital is enormous and frankly contemptible.’
He later revealed he left on the day more people watched GMB than its BBC rival, five years after he transformed the ITV ratings flop.
He tweeted later: ‘Good Morning Britain beat BBC Breakfast in the ratings yesterday for the first time. My work is done.’
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