Insiders revealed to MailOnline that ‘morale is on the floor’ behind-the-scenes at the ITV show, where a host of stand-in hosts have filled the 56-year-old journalist’s shoes, ever since he left in a fury over a spat about Meghan Markle.
Following an eye-popping viewership of 1.9m back in March, in the past five months, numbers have dropped as the source said: ‘Whatever people thought of Piers he got the ratings up and month in month out he pulled in big interviews’.
It has been reported that the numbers fell to under 500k two months ago and in June, Piers wrote about the ‘tumbling ratings’. A spokesperson for ITV noted that he audience is ‘holding up well’ during 2021.
Back? Good Morning Britain’s ratings have suffered a decline since Piers Morgan famously quit the show back in March and staff are keen for the star to return (Piers pictured in November last year)
His co-host Susanna Reid, 50, stayed in the post following his departure, while she has been joined by a host of temporary co-stars including Richard Bacon, Richard Madeley and Alastair Campbell – whose recruitment has been deemed ‘a low point’.
Piers quit the show after claiming he didn’t ‘believe a word’ Meghan Markle said during her Oprah Winfrey interview, first broadcast on CBS on March 7, leading to a tense exchange with co-star Alex Beresford.
It later emerged that Meghan also made a formal complaint to Ofcom about the TV host after he dismissed her account of suffering suicidal thoughts and experiencing racism at the hands of the Royal Family.
On the desire for Piers to return, the insider said: ‘Morale is on the floor and has been getting worse since Piers left. Whatever people thought of Piers he got the ratings up and month in month out he pulled in big interviews.
Off: Insiders revealed to MailOnline that ‘morale is on the floor’ behind-the-scenes at the ITV show, where a host of stand-in hosts have filled the 56-year-old journalist’s shoes, ever since he left in a fury over a spat about Meghan Markle (pictured leaving the show in March)
‘Now the show rarely gets any decent guests or is talked about.
The lack of a permanent replacement is an issue, as the source said: ‘The constant chopping and changing of presenters hasn’t helped and using Alastair Campbell was seen as a particular low point because he had no track record in presenting.
‘Everyone on the show would absolutely love to see Piers come back because, in many ways, they feel that’s the only way the ratings dive can be reversed.’
On the possibility of his comeback, the insider went on: ‘It’s not beyond the realms because he still talks to Susanna and despite everything that happens he is still in touch with many who worked on the programme.’
A source close to the show said: ‘The fighting spirit in the newsroom is as strong as ever, buoyed up by a stream of scoops, news exclusives and outstanding live reporting, we absolutely remain the ones to beat in the TV news stakes.’
Speaking out: An ITV spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Good Morning Britain’s audience share year-to-date stands at 22%, which is in line with 2020, and up on 2019’s audience share by 1.2 share points
An ITV spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Good Morning Britain’s audience share year-to-date stands at 22%, which is in line with 2020, and up on 2019’s audience share by 1.2 share points.
‘The show’s audience is holding up well therefore in 2021, and is also posting year-on-year increases for family audiences, and 16-34 year old viewers.’
Sources said: ‘Bosses are pleased with the ongoing performance of GMB which has remained strong following the Olympics and also when compared to last year which saw record ratings due to the pandemic.’
‘The mix of guest presenters alongside GMB favourites is working out well. To see a rise in the all important commercial demographic of parents and 16-34’s is great to see too.’
When Piers first left the show, it was reported that he was making the shift to new channel GB News, yet the claims never came to fruition: ‘Any chance of him joining GB has gone out of the window and there are many on the show who think Piers has a score to settle and a point to prove…
Come back? On the possibility of his comeback, the insider went on: ‘It’s not beyond the realms because he still talks to Susanna and despite everything that happens he is still in touch with many who worked on the programme’ (Piers and Susanna pictured in March)
‘The team at GMB think ITV need to swallow their pride and admit they need Piers back. When he left a lot of the backstage cast were saying no one person is bigger than the programme itself, but now they are starting to think Piers was.’
Writing about the decline in the Mail On Sunday in June, Piers said: ‘Good Morning Britain’s tumbling ratings have plunged to their lowest ever level as just 451,000 people tuned in to Wednesday’s show with comedian Adil Ray sitting in my old chair.
‘Newspaper reports today suggest ITV want Susanna Reid to have a female presenting partner to stop the rot. If it appeases the woke brigade, I’m prepared to identify as a woman to get the ratings back to the peak of 1.9million where I left them.’
In recent weeks the show’s figures have rallied and some days they’ve seen them return to around 1.2million. Our source added: ‘Piers coming back would probably see the viewing figures return to where they were almost overnight.’