Fury of Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley at leak of their Daybreak exit
ADRIAN Chiles and Christine Bleakley are furious at being dumped from Daybreak after ITV bosses demanded an overhaul of the ailing breakfast show.
The pair were informed last week that their services are no longer required on the programme, which has proved to be a ratings flop. They will be replaced as presenters in the New Year.
Both are said to be furious at the manner of their departure. The news was leaked despite private assurances that Chiles and Bleakley could make an announcement “with dignity intact”.
Bleakley made her feelings known via Twitter, telling her followers: “Morning, what a lovely headline to wake up to. My sarcasm comes across in this tweet I hope”.
Chiles was said to be “angry, upset and acutely embarrassed”, although his spokesman denied that he had confided: “Dark forces have leaked it for their own ends and I am mightily unhappy about it.”
Sources said the pair were victims of "political manouevring” within ITV and claimed that Daybreak’s problems could not be blamed on the presenters, who were keen to continue on the sofa and believed that they were turning the programme’s fortunes around.
An insider said: “They are both totally committed to Daybreak but there is stuff going on behind the scenes. Daybreak would make a very interesting case study.”
The direction of the programme has been the source of continued debate, with some executives wanting it to tackle more serious news and others arguing that it should concentrate on entertainment.
A new editor, David Kermode, takes over on December 1. It is understood that he took the role on condition that he could bring in some fresh faces.
Natasha Kaplinsky has been linked to the job, although her spokesman denied that she had been approached. Other names in the frame include Chris Hollins, the BBC Breakfast sports presenter, amd former GMTV host Eamonn Holmes.
Kate Garraway and Dan Lobb, currently part of the Daybreak team, could see their roles boosted, while Helen Fospero is said to have impressed bosses when she appeared as a guest presenter recently.
Chiles and Bleakley defected from the BBC to ITV last year.
Their huge pay deals - £6 million for Chiles over four years, and £4 million for Bleakley - also encompassed other work for the channel, but Daybreak was the main focus.
It was hoped they would replicate the chemistry that made them a winning double act on the BBC’s The One Show, but Daybreak proved less popular than its predecessor GMTV.
Ratings slumped to 600,000, less than half those of the programme’s BBC Breakfast rival.
Audience research found that viewers considered Chiles to be “too grumpy” for the breakfast sofa, while Bleakley’s “Wag” status - she is engaged to Frank Lampard, the Chelsea and England footballer - alienated female audiences.
Chiles appeared to agree with some of the criticism, saying: “I don’t really do chirpiness. Christine does. I can’t bear the sight of myself in the morning. I wouldn’t want to wake up with me.”
Last night, ITV said that the pair would remain with the channel. Chiles will continue to present football coverage and That Sunday Night Show, which returns for a third series in January. Bleakley is to become the new co-host of Dancing On Ice, replacing Holly Willoughby.
ITV refused to deny that the pair had been sacked. A spokesman said: “We are not going to comment on speculation.”