High breakfast TV salaries 'alienate' viewers, says Nick Owen

Good Morning Britain hosts Sean Fletcher, Susanna Reid, Ben Shephard and Charlotte Hawkins The Good Morning Britain team: Sean Fletcher, Susanna Reid, Ben Shephard and Charlotte Hawkins

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Former TV-am host Nick Owen has claimed viewers are put off watching ITV's breakfast shows because of the high salaries paid to big-name presenters.

It comes as former BBC Breakfast host Susanna Reid prepares to front new show Good Morning Britain from next week, in a deal reported to be worth £1 million.

It replaces Daybreak, whose highly-paid launch presenters Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley lasted one year.

Owen said press speculation about big salaries can "alienate viewers".

"Here's someone on a million pounds - you will enjoy them! Who can relate to a presenter like that?" he added.

Owen has extensive experience with breakfast TV, having started at TV-am's Good Morning Britain show in 1983 as a sports reporter before going on to become a main presenter with Anne Diamond until 1986.

Susanna Reid on Strictly Reid made the final of 2013's Strictly Come Dancing
Nick Owen and Anne Diamond on Good Morning with Anne and Nick After TV-am in the 1980s, Owen and Diamond also hosted Good Morning with Anne and Nick on the BBC in the 1990s

They helped to turn around the show's fortunes and it went on to be very successful.

Owen rejoined Diamond on the sofa in 1992 to co-present Good Morning with Anne and Nick on BBC One until 1996, and he now presents for the BBC's Midlands Today programme.

Start Quote

At the age of 43, I have got three children and I have been a journalist for more than 20 years - and so I do hope I know a few things about quite a lot of stuff.”

End Quote Susanna Reid

"I joined TV-am after a raft of big names had failed - David Frost, Michael Parkinson, Anna Ford, Angela Rippon... they'd not caught on with the viewers at all," Owen told the Radio Times.

"They'd been turned down by Terry Wogan and Michael Aspel, so I was filling in until they could find someone, basically.

"But because no-one was watching, we could try things out."

Reid has said she quit the BBC last month after "a fabulous two decades" as the new ITV job was a "fantastic opportunity".

"At the age of 43, I have got three children and I have been a journalist for more than 20 years - and so I do hope I know a few things about quite a lot of stuff," Reid said.

"It's not often in your career you get the opportunity to build something new that is really exciting and so engaging.

"I do like to challenge myself and do things that are different. It's good to push yourself."

Since Daybreak replaced GMTV in 2010, ITV has continued to struggle to compete with BBC Breakfast's viewing figures.

On Thursday 17 April, an average of 489,300 tuned in to Daybreak while an average 1.38 million watched Breakfast on BBC One.

Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley hosted The One Show together before launching ITV's Daybreak

ITV has not commented on how much Reid will be paid when she joins Ben Shephard, Charlotte Hawkins and Sean Fletcher on Good Morning Britain.

The presenter has said she is less nervous about fronting the new show than she was about appearing on Strictly Come Dancing last year.

"I don't dread anything. Even the early morning alarm clock," she told the Radio Times.

"When you have done Strictly Come Dancing live on a Saturday night in front of millions... I'll never be that nervous again."

Daybreak has gone through both line-up changes and four different editors since its inception in 2010.

Lorraine Kelly and Aled Jones became Daybreak's presenters in September 2012, taking over from former GMTV presenter Kate Garraway and Dan Lobb.

The pair had been filling in since Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley left the programme in November 2011, 14 months after Daybreak's highly publicised launch.

ITV's head of daytime programmes Helen Warner said Good Morning Britain's number one priority would be "engaging, news-driven content".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 51.


    You know what... That was the episode that was forced to watch... what a shocking coincidence!

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    The only over-worked people on Breakfast are the make-up artists

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Personally I am put of it due to the fact it is rubbish rather than their high salaries. Each to their own but it is not for me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    I think we should stop trying to find hidden depth to the problem and just acknowledge that breakfast TV is poor. If we want news we'll watch a news channel; if we want celebrity gossip we'll watch a celebrity gossip channel. They have completely failed to adapt to the multi-channel, multi-media world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    If you want quality and news you just watch BBC Breakfast in the Morning.If you want dross you watch ITV.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    If we were disgusted at their salaries to the point of boycotting the shows altogether, then why is formula one so popular? or football? Perhaps it has more to do with the utter nonsense these morning shows talk about. Usually vain and patronising topics with guests with delusions of averageness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    I don't care what ITV pay their presenters, commercial issues will sort that out in time.
    It's what BBC pay their news readers/ presenters that should be made public.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    I don't watch the endless babbling inanity on ITV early morning just as I never read the Sun newspaper. If I want to hear the news in the morning I tune to Radio 4 at 8am like most other people I know.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    If i want news in the morning I will go to the internet, If i want to hear gossip and pseudo news I will turn on the BBC breakfast .... for 15 minutes as everything after that is just repeated drivel.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    "High breakfast TV salaries 'alienate' viewers, says Nick Owen"

    I wonder what size percentage Mr Own would be prepared to take in his salary?

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    I don't mind private companies paying their employees whatever they want but the BBC as a publically funded company must and should play by different rules. You can't ask the nations poor for £150 per annum and then throw it at cekebraties. That leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. So does paying Jimmy Saviles salary for 50 years.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    It's not the pay - it's the quality of the story and its presentation that matters. But when it comes over as amateur, I switch off anyway - he amount they are paid just adds insult to injury.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Never really took to Reid preferred Minchin as a reporter and I did not see her a serious political journalist. How she can command a million I do not get. I can't see that many people switching channels to watch adverts in the morning instead of news because of her contribution.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    I couldn't care less about the presenters. There is an issue of people (not just presenters) earning more than I deserve but that does not affect the decisions I take. As for Susanna Reid if she was an extremely good presenter the BBC would probably have put her on the Today programme rather than letting her remain on the TV and ITV paying silly amounts for her.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    People are put off because the people they're watching are paid too much? How come so many people watch Premier League football, watch Hollywood blockbusters, music videos, etc, etc?

    Could it be perhaps that they don't watch breakfast telly because it's not very good?

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    The mystery is why presenters are paid so much in the first place. Don't people have better things to do than watch TV at that hour of the day; sleeping for example? Why get up just to sit down? If you are relaxing after a night shift, fair enough.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    I could not stand Susanna Reid on the BBC news, so glad she has disappeared. i occasionally have a peep at ITV's breakfast show but soon turn back to the BBC. I doubt if Reid will make a difference now she gets paid a million for doing a couple of hours work. Good Luck Susanna, no tears shed for your leaving. The BBC programme is so much better without you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    ITV seem to have the ability to attract the least talented and then pay them extortionate amounts of money. Brinkley, Chiles and now reed, all hopeless and embarrassing to watch.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    "Good morning! At 8:00 we're going to be dribbing over some talentless person who requires constant attention!
    At 8:15 dribbling over an ex-singer with 15 kids, was bankrupt but now rich because of their book deal!
    At 8:30 dribbling over a talentless wannabe who's brought out diet video!
    And at 8:45 don't miss our competition 'Don't forget to tell the benefits office!' where you can win £25k!"

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    I agree. BBC breakfast is better because it deals with the news and proper current affairs. GMTV - and Lorraine Kelly is the worst for this - (yes, sorry, I have seen it) puts much emphasis on the usual "celebrity" tripe. And then it is followed by the Jeremy Kyle show.

    And ITV wonder why they are struggling against the BBC?


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