The recipe for breakfast success

The recipe for breakfast success

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By Rebecca Stewart,
Friday, 24th July 2015

How time flies. The summer has arrived, royal baby number two is due imminently and today is Good Morning Britain's first birthday.

Despite its £1.5m launch, high-profile signings such as BBC's Susanna Reid and even a recent guest stint by Piers Morgan, the ITV breakfast show is still struggling to outshine its predecessor Daybreak.

Since its launch in April 2014, GMB has averaged 560,000 viewers, falling short of Daybreak's 600,000 average for the same time period the previous year. Yet both pale in comparison to BBC1's Breakfast, which rakes in a whopping 1.5m on weekdays.

Ever since the BBC launched Breakfast Time two weeks before TV-am in 1983, the broadcasters have scuffled over our cornflakes bowls. As ITV prepares to blow out the candles, we take a look at what makes a successful breakfast show.

Big money signings

It may seem like an obvious choice, but are famous faces the key to winning viewers' hearts?

Ms Reid was coaxed over to Good Morning Britain from BBC Breakfast with £500,000 after winning hearts on Strictly Come Dancing. But within just 7 days of launching last year the programme lost 25% of its viewers whilst BBC Breakfast retained a steady 1.5m.

But big names aren't everything as history demonstrates. In 1997 Channel 4's dwindling viewing figures for The Big Breakfast were resurrected to almost their peak of 2 million following the onscreen pairing of Johnny Vaughan and Denise van Outen, both relatively unheard of at the time.

In fact, the biggest impact made on breakfast TV viewing figures was not only made by a fresh face, but a non-human face. Roland Rat made his first appearance on TV-am in 1983 and is generally regarded as the show's saviour boosting the show's figures from 100,000 to more than 1 million during his first summer.

Light and fluffy or hard-boiled?

ITV promised a harder-news version of Daybreak when it launched GMB. So far it has been accused of pitching itself on the Daily Mail/ Mirror end of the spectrum but is hard news what people want first thing in the morning?

When TV-am first launched in 1983 it initially focused on news and analysis, believing BBC rival Breakfast Time would do the same. In fact, the BBC launched a lightweight, magazine-style programme, which proved so popular TV-am soon followed suit. Following BBC Breakfast Time's sudden move to adopt a more serious news format under the title BBC Breakfast News, TV-am's softer content soon made it the UK's most popular breakfast show. In this case the light-hearted approach won the ratings battle.


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