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Wednesday 21 May 2014

GMB – Press Still Making It Up

After the first week and a half of ITV’s new breakfast offering Good Morning Britain, the attention of the Fourth Estate had started to wane, despite the ratings shock horror headlines such as “Ratings disaster for Susanna Reid and Good Morning Britain as just 330,000 viewers tune in compared with more than 1m for BBC's rival breakfast showfrom the Daily Mail.
Show with four presenters baffles press no shock horror

Yes, even the Guardian, to its shame, went with that one. And why was it such a lame dig? The show was broadcast on a BANK HOLIDAY MONDAY: desperation, for some in the press, knows no bounds. Nor does the Mail’s obsessive fixation with Ms Reid, to the extent of posting two photos of the former Strictly participant with co-presenter Sean Fletcher, but not mentioning him once.

But here a problem enters: despite the hunger for any kind of sleb’n’showbiz goss, very little of this seems to be getting out of ITV and into the press. And this, as ever, produces the kind of news vacuum that the 24-hour Speculatron abhors. The HuffPost found a survey few had heard of: “Susanna Reid-Fronted 'Good Morning Britain' Is 'Least-Loved Show' (Just Ahead Of BNP Party Political Broadcast)”.

Says who? “According to the Audience Appreciation Index data, where viewers rate shows out of 100, 'Good Morning Britain' scored just 59 last Tuesday, the lowest-rating show on ITV or BBC1”. And which paper did they lift this out of? Maybe this one: “An industry source told The Sun: ‘If people don’t like the show you’re in trouble’”. Nowt gets past Rupe’s downmarket troops.

So they didn’t know, either. Nor did the Express, which was reduced to recycling comments made by ITV head man Peter Fincham to the Broadcasting Press Guild and wondering if he really meant what he said (clue, Express people: he’s the boss at ITV, so he probably did). And Ben Shephard had to remind everyone that Ms Reid is, first and foremost, a journalist with over 20 years’ experience.

So far, so predictable, but now a mildly snarky piece has appeared in the Independent: “Good Morning Britain: Jay Leno's early morning 'cocaine and hookers' talk spices up struggling show”, telling “Asked by presenter Susanna Reid why he has amassed such a vast collection of cars, Leno replied: ‘It's still cheaper than cocaine and hookers’ ... The hosts feigned shock”.

The article continued “by this point any controversy is surely a good thing for the floundering show, and indeed a video of the interview was uploaded uncensored and unedited on the ITV website merely moments later”. Yeah, right: that’s another logic leap and false assumption. In any case, you ask Leno on, you know what you’re going to get. But interesting to see they’re still assuming failure, and still probing.

The press can’t get behind the scenes at GMB. And that ain’t GMB’s problem.

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