Image: ITV/Ken McKay

Piers Morgan and ‘Good Morning Britain’ must part ways permanently

Piers Morgan is an individual that almost everyone has an opinion on. He’s quite literally the definition of a Marmite figure: you either love him or hate him. As former editor of the Daily Mirror, he has most recently become best known for presenting ITV’s Good Morning Britain. A polarising, divisive figure, his no-nonsense, strong-stance opinions are intransigent and nothing but provocative.  

This was key in his abrupt departure from Good Morning Britain this March, after refusing to apologise for failing to believe Meghan Markle’s account of her mental health problems. Rumours have recently emerged on the internet that Morgan has been asked to return to Good Morning Britain all these months later due to its apparently declining viewing figures. Breakfast shows are a flagship part of TV networks, and so require a strong set of ratings if they are to remain sustainable. Just look what happened to the previous incarnations of GMB through GMTV and Daybreak.

There should be significance given to just conveying the news and facts as they are, rather than simply hearing what different presenters think. 

Despite leaving Good Morning Britain, Piers Morgan very much remains involved with ITV. His Life Stories, most recently with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, has aired over 100 episodes, with an eclectic mix of different celebrities and talent placed under interrogation. Similarly, Morgan’s Killer Women series investigated some of the most heinous criminal acts to take place. Even though he’s apparently in discussions with GB News, which launched on Sunday 13th June, ITV continues to provide Morgan with broadcasting output and exposure.  

So the question remains as to whether ITV will (or should) let Morgan return to their flagship show. It’s a programme built around entertainment as much as news: polarising debates on issues of the day are clipped for YouTube, guaranteed to deliver high viewing figures. We learn about the views of the presenters, not least Morgan, as much as the guests or important news items under discussion. It has been successful since its opening in 2014 for a reason.  

Nonetheless, it does raise the question of whether this style of news broadcasting is necessarily healthy. We will soon learn how GB News fares with such a model of presenting, where the focus becomes opinions rather than simply rolling news. I am unsure as to how sustainable or desirable this mode of news broadcasting is. There should be significance given to just conveying the news and facts as they are, rather than simply hearing what different presenters think.  

Morgan himself is an individual who is no doubt in high demand. One of his talents has been the ability to reinvent himself when the circumstances have arisen. After being fired from the Daily Mirror, he became a judge on Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent. When that ended, he replaced Larry King on CNN for three years. Then he came back across the pond to front Good Morning Britain, where he enjoyed a good five and a half year run.  

Given the relevance Good Morning Britain still enjoys in the public consciousness, it might now be the time for other voices to have a say on the important matters of the day

The grating thing about many of his tweets and pathetic insults is that (whisper it) on a number of  key issues, Morgan has proved himself to be on the right side of history. As editor of the Daily Mirror, Morgan was vehemently opposed to the Iraq War, in stark contrast with much of the country and arch redtop rival The Sun. His show on CNN partially ended because he (rightly) wouldn’t stop talking about the need for effective gun control after repeated mass shootings. And on Good Morning Britain, though polarising and often over the top, his scrutiny of ministers at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic was right and necessary.  

Given the relevance Good Morning Britain still enjoys in the public consciousness, it might now be the time for other voices to have a say on the important matters of the day. There are no doubt plenty of up-and-coming presenters who would enjoy the opportunity to express their views on how society should develop and the correct policy matters – why not give them a chance? Piers Morgan has ample contacts and clout to find work elsewhere, whether in the UK and abroad. To reappoint Morgan to Good Morning Britain would be a sign of ITV’s weakness about its future, not a strength. 

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