Peter Fincham, ITV director of television, has told the MediaGuardian Edinburgh Television Festival that struggling breakfast show Daybreak is still ‘a work in progress’ after almost a year of dismal audience appreciation and critical panning.
Peter Fincham, ITV director of television, has told the MediaGuardian Edinburgh Television Festival that struggling breakfast show Daybreak is still ‘a work in progress’ after almost a year of dismal audience appreciation and critical panning. The show, which is expected to undergo a ‘refresh’ next month, has been unpopular with both the press and ITV viewers – although Fincham chose in his speech to ignore the latter and concentrate on the press critique saying:
“It’s a lot better than it’s sometimes characterised… it will continue to improve. Breakfast is a very distinctive part of the schedule.” Adding, “It’s a good show. It’s a show we’d like to get to a different place from where it is just at the moment. It’s a work in progress.”
ITV rarely give programmes time to grow, so Daybreak has been somewhat a rarity in modern ITV, although the show has moved away from the news-focused, serious highbrow option as seen when it launched last September and is now much more back into a format not so far removed from the populist lowbrow GMTV. Backward steps moving the show closer to the GMTV style, which ran from 1993 until last year, haven’t stopped with the format and content of the programme. The set has also had a number of alterations including introducing a large red sofa, reminiscent of the final GMTV settee, over the top amounts of flowers and changing the studio colour pallet from purple to orange, yellow and red. Most of which have blocked the window view of London which the programme boasted as a key asset last year.
Despite Fincham’s focus on the press the main complaint about Daybreak from viewers of the programme is that the main anchors, former The One Show darlings, Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley are not ‘breakfast time personalities’. The BBC duo proved by moving to ITV that The One Show is a ratings winner due to its format rather than the presenters. Some programmes however do fair better if they have the right hosts and it appears breakfast time is a slot that needs an important mix of presenters. This is something ITV believe Daybreak already has, even if hardly anyone else thinks that way. Fincham is behind his leading morning double act 100% “no ifs, no buts”.
It seems the set can revert to GMTVII style, as can the format, but for viewers, who place it as one of the worst performing programmes in the audience appreciation index, they’re stuck with the real cause of the problem for Daybreak – Chiles and Bleakley.
Fincham notes that all ITV breakfast programmes have had rocky starts at launch, however GMTV became successful after six-months and TV-am back in 1983 was not threatened with the axe as it wasn’t an option – it was a station and ITV company in its own right. Both TV-am and GMTV became popular with the audience with the format that ITV are pushing Daybreak towards.
He also said the channel is looking for more comedy output, and while Daybreak is a television joke, he’d prefer a hit sitcom.