Daybreak: What has gone wrong for Chiles and Bleakely dream team?
They were billed as television’s dream team — the perfect pairing to front ITV’s newly-launched Daybreak show and to entice viewers away from its BBC rival Breakfast.
If anyone was going to put the on-screen spark back into early morning television, it was Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakely, the golden couple who had proved such a successful partnership on The One Show.
But less than two months after the launch of Daybreak ITV has seen its audience sink to a new low — drawing just half-a-million viewers this week.
The troubled morning show was left trailing in the wake of its BBC counterpart, which had three times as many people watching as 1.5m tuned in. The latest figures for yesterday's show are a fresh blow for the programme, which has been battling to match the audience of its predecessor GMTV.
Tuesday's show was fronted by Chiles and Bleakley, who were back after a week's holiday, and guests included Hollywood actress Julianne Moore. But the show failed to hit a peak of a million viewers at any point, a first since it launched at the start of September. It had an average of 500,000 viewers.
The show launched with a million viewers but its audience soon fell and has continued to drop.
The continuing decline has prompted speculation that ITV bosses may need to step in to save the show as it becomes less enticing to advertisers.
So just where has Daybreak gone wrong? If internet websites are to be believed, the drastic drop is due to the show’s presenters, with the Chiles/ Bleakley coupling come under fire.
Many posters on television forums have criticised their laidback style of presenting, his perceived grumpiness, her constant laughing — in short, the same characteristics that made them so popular on The One Show. Even the way in which they sit closely together — inherited from their time on The One Show — has been ridiculed.
According to media commentator Don Anderson, the blame for the show’s failings is not down to the presenters.
Mr Anderson said he believed the “knives were out” for both Chiles and Bleakley but that the show’s editors had to stand by them. And he also said a review of Daybreak’s format was needed if the programme was to see a turnaround in its fortunes.