Rarely can the press appetite for generating cheap copy from the broadcasters, pretending not to go for sales and clicks by pushing the Phwoarr! Factor, and obsession over What Other People In The Media Are Getting Paid have come together with the force of the arrival at ITV’s breakfast offering of former BBC presenter – and Strictly performer – Susanna Reid.
The travails of ITV in this area are well-known: a previous raid on the BBC to secure the services of Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley went down like the proverbial lead balloon, and Daybreak has not done well since, meaning the Beeb, despite all the media mud slung in its general direction after the move to Salford Quays, has taken a significant lead in the ratings.
So what is the press’ problem here? Strangely, nobody has taken issue with the name of the soon-to-be-revamped show, Good Morning Britain, which was the name of the initially ill-fated TV-am offering trounced by the BBC before being rescued by Roland Rat. No, the real problem is that Ms Reid is getting paid Serious Money, an area where free market economics becomes A Very Bad Thing Indeed.
Cue faux outrage and good old-fashioned envy from the Mail: “Can breakfast TV viewers really relate to '£1million' signing Susanna Reid?” it sneers, telling readers “Poised, polished and posing in an eye-catching dress, Susanna Reid looks every inch the '£1million' breakfast television presenter” and referring to her as “Miss Reid” despite the fact that she is a 43 year old mother of three.
Then, playing both sides of the field with ease, the Mail grumps “according to her predecessors, no one will be impressed with the extra added gloss. In fact they think Miss Reid’s alleged huge salary will prompt viewers to switch off altogether” before giving the full lowdown on her dress and how aspiring fortysomethings can buy one like it. Over at the Telegraph, meanwhile, there is faux concern.
“Susanna Reid has dismissed talk of the ‘curse of Strictly’ and said she is confident that her on-screen chemistry with her new co-stars on ITV will win over audiences” it tells. Yeah, it’s such a curse that Strictly made her hugely bankable. Indeed, the Tel describes her as “one of television’s hottest properties”, and to illustrate what this means, readers get a suitably Phwoarr-related photo.
And Phwoarr was the name of the game at the Express, where readers were informed that “SUSANNA Reid has undergone a serious makeover ahead of her new role on Good Morning Britain, and it's certainly bound to set some hearts racing”. Meaning the press, who can’t race fast enough to generate cheap copy on the back of someone else spending money.
Woman secures well-paid job in competitive market. Nah, nobody’ll read about that.