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Daybreak's Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley sacked
Daybreak's Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley
ITV has confirmed the departure of Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley from Daybreak to focus on ITV1 peak time.
The broadcaster has mutually agreed that the pair will step down from their regular presenting Daybreak roles later this year.
Peter Fincham, ITV Director of Television, said: "Adrian and Christine are both superb presenters. They have worked tirelessly to help establish Daybreak on ITV1 and they leave the show at a point when ratings have recently seen their biggest year on year increase."
It's fair to say they have noticeably failed to transfer the magic they had hosting BBC's The One Show over to the commercial broadcaster, and it told in their disappointing ratings.
Viewers have clearly voted with their remote controls, rejecting Adrian and Christine for BBC Breakfast, which has strengthened its grip on the early morning telly market.
Even a strike at the BBC didn't help Daybreak; BBC Breakfast maintained its impressive audience share and ratings.
Back in the summer of 2010, the prospects had seemed so positive. ITV Chiefs were positively crowing about their double whammy acquisition of Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley.
It was so long and farewell to GMTV's Ben Shepherd (resigned), Emma Crosby (shown the exit), Penny Smith (shown the exit) and Andrew Castle (resigned).
Of the main GMTV presenting team, only Kate Garraway has found a berth on Daybreak. In came a garish new set, new title sequence and a new name. Where GMTV had supposedly grown a bit stale, Daybreak was to offer up a fresh start to the day.
"Daybreak was to offer up a fresh start to the day"
The launch back in September 2010 saw just over a million people tuning in. However, as the novelty of watching a one-time teatime team turn up over morning toast faded, viewers began to drift away. As it currently stands, on average, BBC1's Breakfast programme is being watched by nearly twice as many people.
Clearly something went terribly wrong - but what?
All about Christine and Adrian
"Daybreak isn't all that different to GMTV"
In many respects Daybreak isn't all that different to GMTV - or the many other breakfast television shows that have gone before it.
There are numerous topical items, there are guests and it covers the full range of frothy show business nonsense to accounts of personal tragedy. So far, so GMTV.
So if it's not the general format that's the problem, where else to look?
Inevitably you have to begin with Adrian and Christine.
When the twosome first fetched up together on The One Show, it was with little prior baggage. Chiles (the occasionally dour Brummie) and Bleakley (the perpetually pleasant poppet) were a brilliant double act. Their down-to-earth manner suggested a refreshing lack of ego.
However, their separate journeys from the BBC to ITV have proved damaging. Chiles apparently departed the Beeb in a huff, after Chris Evans elbowed him out of presenting The One Show's Friday editions.
Then not long after, Christine found herself at the centre of a bidding war as the powers-that-be at ITV attempted to lure her over to the cash side.
Her very public dithering was viewed by many as a naked attempt to draw the BBC into a bidding war, but the corporation refused to play ball. Goodbye Christine. For some viewers, the entire sorry saga left a funny taste in the mouth.
Daybreak's ratings crisis
And so when Chiles and Bleakley grinned out at us on that September morning, it wasn't without some unwanted baggage. In football, managers perennially insist that no player is bigger than the club; too bad the mantra wasn't applied to Daybreak.
"The dynamic duo took the plaudits on day one"
The dynamic duo took the plaudits on day one (the reviews were overwhelmingly positive). But since then it's been downhill all the way, so they have to take the criticism.
Instead of building on its great start, Daybreak has steadily bled viewers.
Remember when they bagged the Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow exclusive performance of hit single, Shame? It wasn't enough for a significant uplift.
And when the rescue of the Chile miners got underway, casual viewers tuned into BBC Breakfast - raising their ratings even more. The figures for that momentous day speak for themselves: Breakfast pulled in an average of 1.8m on Wednesday 13 October; Daybreak's audience of 700,000 was dwarfed.
Although changes were made to Daybreak (remember Four Poofs and a Piano rounding up the news in song on Fridays?), rumours started to circulate that ITV bosses would be replacing Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley. Adrian confessed he was stung by the harsh criticism, but the rumours grew louder.
Will you miss Daybreak's Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley?
Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results
- Yes - they were great
- 80 %No - they were awful
Just over a year since the show's launch, it's goodbye to its highly-paid presenters. Christine Bleakley will move on to new projects, including presenting Dancing On Ice when the talent show returns in 2012. Adrian Chiles will still host ITV1's football coverage. However, for both of them, the Daybreak ride is over.
The views in this column are those of the author alone and not of MSN or Microsoft
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