ITV has tried to put a positive spin on the departure of Daybreak duo Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley by suggesting the pair, who failed to warm with breakfast viewers, are to focus on primetime programming.

“ITV has mutually agreed with Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley that they will step down from their regular presenting roles on Daybreak later this year to focus on their peak time commitments with ITV1.” The broadcaster said in a statement which tried to put a positive spin on a bad situation.

Adrian Chiles is to continue in his role as the anchor of ITV’s live football coverage, which includes the FA Cup, England’s internationals as well as the UEFA Champions League. The former Working Lunch presenter will also continue to front the late evening discussion series, That Sunday Night Show, which is to return for a third series in 2012.

Christine Bleakley is to be thrust into peak time programming, which includes taking over as the main female co-presenter on celebrity ice skating contest Dancing on Ice alongside Phillip Schofield. Christine will also host Westlife: For The Last Time and co-present a major new charity and entertainment initiative for Christmas, Text Santa. ITV have also threatened viewers with further primetime programming from the former One Show face.

Peter Fincham, ITV Director of Television, while wiping egg from his face, said in a press statement, “Adrian and Christine are both superb presenters. They have worked tirelessly to help establish Daybreak on ITV.” Not noting that generally this they have failed to do.

Daybreak, cold and miserable, took over from GMTV, warm and cosy, in September 2010, and has for most of its run suffered from the worst ranking in the audience appreciation index. This chart measures whether viewers like to watch a programme or not, with Daybreak being deemed appalling in the ranking.

Fincham ignores the appreciation index and comments instead on ratings, “They leave the show at a point when ratings have recently seen their biggest year on year increase.” He says.

Which isn’t difficult considering at this point last year the ratings were generally deemed dire, and the year on year increase isn’t clarified as to how many years they’re looking back at. Clearly not to the point of GMTV beating BBC Breakfast regularly in the ratings.

“Adrian has had a hugely positive reception as the host of ITV’s live football coverage since he joined us for the 2010 World Cup and I’m pleased that he will be at the helm of the UK’s biggest free-to-air football offering, and will continue to present his successful That Sunday Night Show.” Fincham continues, adding, “I’m delighted that Christine will join Phillip Schofield as the host of one of our biggest entertainment hits, Dancing on Ice, as well as our Christmas event, Text Santa – and as we look ahead to next year we will be working with her on two exciting new peak time projects.”

The new presenters of Daybreak – which over the last three weeks has seen average audiences reach figures no better than GMTV which in recent years have been around 800,000 – will be announced in due course.

Daybreak has undergone several revamps in its short life with many viewers pointing the blame for it being a terrible television experience at the hands of the main presenting team of Bleakley and Chiles as well as poor programme content and a miserable purple colour-scheme.

GMTV had been praised in its final months on air for providing a cosy programme with much more interesting content features. Fans may hope for a return of Penny Smith and Andrew Castle and an increased role for both John Stapleton and Kate Garraway, however there is only so much backtracking ITV may be prepared to do. They’ve already returned a red GMTV-style sofa to the studio and warmed up the backdrop with GMTV’s orange and red colours.

Now all they have to do is find two cosy and warm presenters to fit in with the GMTV colourings.

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