Belfast Telegraph

A good morning, Susanna? Jury's out on whether £400k star has beaten breakfast TV curse

By Amanda Ferguson

It's the curse of national television. Leaving the BBC for an ITV breakfast show is seen as something of a poisoned chalice – so just how did Susanna Reid fare on her first day on a risky new programme?

Christine Bleakley knows the dangers of jumping from the Beeb for a glossy new show all too well, having been unceremoniously dumped from Daybreak in 2011.

But the new golden girl of ITV seems to have got off to a flying start on her first day fronting the commercial broadcaster's new breakfast programme, Good Morning Britain.

So far the critics have been largely kind about the much-anticipated programme. But many commentators have been left pondering if the enthusiasm for the new show will be sustained and if 43-year-old Susanna, who was poised and relaxed on air yesterday, will fare better than Northern Ireland's Christine did.

Daily Telegraph writer Michael Hogan gave the launch show three stars out of five and said BBC Breakfast, home of Susanna's last sofa, "might just have a viable rival".

"Recent big money BBC-to-ITV defectees, notably Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley, have struggled in their new home," he added.

"On this evidence, Reid should settle in more easily."

Digital Spy's Alex Fletcher called the launch show "quite dizzying", while, perhaps typically, the Daily Mail complained the glass desk Susanna was sitting behind hid her legs from view.

Only time will tell if the former Beeb journalist's move has been a success.

But the footsteps in which she is following have a less than golrious path. In 2010, following their high-profile defection from the BBC, Newtownards broadcaster Christine and co-presenter Adrian Chiles launched Daybreak to great fanfare.

After a temporary boost in viewing figures, the pair failed to repeat their BBC success and were axed from the programme in 2011.

The Daybreak replacement, Good Morning Britain, is not new as such.

Older viewers will perhaps remember the name previously being used by ITV when it launched its first breakfast show in 1983.

It was largely associated with Anne Diamond and Nick Owen.

Several commentators have likened the look of the 2014 programme to ABC's long-running breakfast show Good Morning America.

Susanna, who was wearing a stylish red dress and is rumoured to be on a £400,000 contract, was joined on the presenting panel by Ben Shephard, Sean Fletcher and Charlotte Hawkins.

From 6am to 8.30am the live show covered the hard news of the day, sport and weather.

There was also a look at US actor George Clooney's engagement to a British lawyer Amal Alamuddin and veteran entertainer and presenter Paul O'Grady talked about the return of his teatime chat show about health issues.

Shortly after the first show ended Susanna messaged her 209,000 Twitter followers.

"Thanks for all your tweets," she wrote.

" #GoodMorningBritain – back tomorrow at 6am"

Bookmaker William Hill believes there is a fair chance the former Strictly Come Dancing contestant may not be with the show in a year's time, with even money on the presenter no longer being a host 12 months from now.

Spokesman Rupert Adams said: "You would expect the first day to be a little chaotic, but we felt the chemistry was not there and the show could struggle in its current format."

Louise Minchin has been presenting BBC Breakfast alongside Bill Turnbull since Susanna left.

An announcement about a permanent replacement is expected this autumn.

Sofa, so good?... four views on the debut of BBC defector in the early morning hot seat at ITV

FORMER GMTV CORRESPONDENT EMMA-LOUISE JOHNSTON:

"I thought Susanna got off to a great start. She was very much in control, capable and authoritative, and looked great. Maybe a bit more warmth wouldn't go amiss, but it was her first day. I liked the style – it is fresh, and whilst they were all very smiley it didn't feel like they were trying too hard. Susanna should be pleased with her very first day. I do not envy her embarking on those ridiculously early starts five days a week. I couldn't do that again if you paid me... even as much as her!"

PR EXPERT AND BUSINESSWOMAN CATHY MARTIN:

"Susanna is obviously older than Christine Bleakley, but I don't think this will go against her. Her maturity coupled with the behind-the-desk approach gives a more serious look to the programme. Susanna has that BBC journalist caché, so she brings a professional journalist approach to what was traditionally a magazine-style show. On the whole the launch show went well. A few chemistry teething issues, but nothing that won't be ironed out in a few days."

BELFAST TELEGRAPH TELEVISION CRITIC JOE NAWAZ:

"If, like Hugh Hefner, you like to start the day with four good-looking, upbeat people beaming down at you while you feel inadequate, then this was for you. The team flung 'exclusives' and gags at us as we struggled to put spoons into cereal bowls. And what of fragrant Susanna Reid, who's jumped from BBC's comfy couch to ITV's Ikea office range? Well, taking the last of Auntie's defections to ITV, the omens are ominous. Adrian Chiles barely gets a look-in these days."

FORMER NI PRESENTER FOR DAYBREAK JANE VEITCH:

"I think Susanna Reid has proven herself one of breakfast TV's most natural performers. She seemed relaxed, friendly and at ease switching between hard news and soft stories. She was occasionally a little flustered, but that's to be forgiven during two-and-a-half hours of live TV. I liked her dress! I thought the show in general was fresh, fast and more confident than its predecessor. The set was bright and airy and it's their best breakfast effort to date.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph