Fresh in his job as the new boss of televisions’ national joke, Daybreak, it appears David Kermode is to turn the show back into GMTV in everything but name by appealing to the mainly female audience.
Under its new remit Daybreak will try to claw back the “hassled mums” it lost when GMTV was ditched in September 2010. A move which has proved to be one of ITV’s most expensive programming mistakes in terms of money, audience appreciation and credibility. The U-turn has been played down by ITV, but no one was falling for the usual positive spin put on the whole dire situation.
Viewers of GMTV were left furious when bosses axed their cosy early morning presenters, such as Andrew Castle and Penny Smith, to shoe-horn in Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley who were favourites of one ITV executive.
The indignation continued when ITV foolishly decided to give GMTV a low-key send off with no fanfare after 17-years. A mistake on the ‘closure’ front for the programme which saw thousands posting online demanding GMTV’s return to the screens for weeks after its last episode.
GMTV followed the tried and tested light breakfast magazine show format first devised by TV-am in the 1980s. A format that for years proved to be a popular destination for housewives with children, re-branded by Kermode as those hassled mums, with its populist mix of showbiz, brief news coverage and lifestyle features.
Daybreak launched with a serious news agenda which turned off viewers and the audience appreciation index ranked the show the worst performing for any major channel. Ratings fell below GMTV’s (pictured right in 2010) usual 900,000 mark. Over the past year Daybreak has undergone several mini revamps with the drab and dull purple colours replaced with its predecessors orange and red scheme, the content became muddled and the show seemed to struggle day to day unsure of who it was aiming for, what it was and how the tone should be.
In an email to ITV Breakfast production staff David Kermode – former editor of rival BBC Breakfast – has called for a single vision for Daybreak. “Our hassled mum should be in our minds in whatever we do, whether it be our ideas, our production, or our language,” Kermode told staff in an email leaked to Broadcast.
“The show is a populist news-led magazine, optimistic in tone, with a tight team of trusted, friendly faces welcoming our viewers to the new day.” Describing the programme GMTV was at its peak.
ITV chief executive Adam Crozier’s had recently suggested that Daybreak needed to be “crystal clear” about whom its ideal viewers are. The latest changes follow a wave of off-air and on-air personnel leaving the unpopular programme.