Christine Bleakley ordered to dress down to win back Daybreak viewers
ITV executives have instructed Christine Bleakley to 'dress down' and Adrian Chiles to 'smile more' in push to win more viewers for ailing Daybreak.
The troubled breakfast show Daybreak has been struggling to repeat GMTV’s popularity since making its debut last September.
In a bid to find out why the show’s audience dipped below 600,000 viewers at one point last year, ITV commissioned some audience research which revealed that audiences, especially mothers, are failing to identify with the highly paid and well dressed Christine Bleakley, one half of the show’s presenting duo and girlfriend of Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard, according to insiders at the TV company.
“The research showed what everyone suspected. The viewers just are not connecting with Christine [Bleakley] or Adrian [Chiles]. Lots of mums can’t identify with Christine’s lifestyle. They see her every morning dressed in designer clothes and know that she is getting paid millions to front the show – as well as dating a footballer – and just can’t warm to her,” an ITV executive told The Telegraph.
As a result, Daybreak producers have advised Bleakley, who was poached from the BBC’s The One Show in three-year deal worth £4m (€4.7m), to “dress down” and avoid designer clothes on the breakfast show’s sofa.
Chiles, who was also poached from the same show in a £6m (€7m) four-year deal, has been told he must “smile more regularly”.
“The audience feedback on Adrian [Chiles] was similar to Christine [Bleakley] - but for a different reason. Viewers are just not warming to him mainly because he looks too grumpy all of the time and doesn’t smile enough,” another ITV insider revealed.
Consequently, Chiles has been told by the show’s producers that he needs to smile more regularly throughout the show.
An ITV spokesman said: “Ongoing research and feedback from viewers is an important part of all our programmes' development.”
Daybreak debuted with just over one million viewers on September 6, but has continued to lose audience since to BBC1’s Breakfast programme with an all time low of 545, 000 viewers at the end of last October. During the same period the BBC’s breakfast show, which broadcast’s for slightly longer, pulled in just under 1.5 million viewers.
At the beginning of December 2010, Daybreak enjoyed a bounce back, pulling in one million viewers for first time since its launch.
ITV is believed to have spent one million pounds on the relaunch of its breakfast show and Daybreak executives have been doing everything possible to try and reverse the ailing fortunes of the new format. This investment came after ITV spent £22m (€26m) on purchasing the Walt Disney Company’s 25pc share in GMTV.