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Piers Morgan vows ‘we will beat BBC Breakfast’ as GMB is tipped to overtake rivals for the first time in 30 years

FOR almost 30 years their rivalry has rocked the so-called genteel world of breakfast television.

But BBC execs will soon be choking on their cornflakes, with Good Morning Britain poised to overtake the corporation's flagship breakfast show for the first time in the two contenders' broadcast history.

Piers Morgan is planning to beat BBC Breakfast
Piers Morgan is planning to beat BBC BreakfastCredit: Rex Features

Under Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, Good Morning Britain's ratings are at an all-time high with the show's audience share doubling - from 14 to 28% - since the former Sun man joined in 2015.

If the trend continues - and the pair remain the voice of the pandemic, continually holding politicians to account - they could soon overhaul red sofa rivals, Dan Walker and Louise Minchin.

Last night Piers said: "The key to our success is that we can't be ignored.

"Whether you love us or hate us, we debate all the issues that people in this country are debating amongst themselves.

"The more serious the news has got, it's interesting that people have gravitated towards us rather than the BBC which is, historically, where they would have gone.

"And I think that's because viewers are getting opinion rather than just information - and that's resonating with them.

"We have captured the zeitgeist and mood of the country a lot better than BBC Breakfast.

BBC Breakfast is slipping down the ratings
BBC Breakfast is slipping down the ratingsCredit: BBC

"I think it's very likely we will overtake them in the ratings by the end of the year which will be an extraordinary achievement.

"You can see that there's real movement now.

"They're not moving, and we're moving relentlessly upwards."

Since joining the magazine show six years ago - following a brief, stand-in stint which saw him put on over 30,000 viewers in a week - Piers has helped transform the once ailing programme.

Dubbed the "saviour" of breakfast TV by fellow broadcaster Eamonn Holmes, Piers's relentless hammering of MPs, gentle teasing of C-list celebs and warmth with the average guest, has helped make GMB the most Tweeted about show on television.

Last week, a clip of Health Secretary Matt Hancock being quizzed by the intrepid duo became the most viewed clip ever with 20 million hits.

In total, Good Morning Britain has generated over half a billion impressions, becoming the second most requested programme on the ITV Hub (behind Love Island), and racked-up a billion YouTube views in 2020.

Piers has helped transform GMB since joining the show six years ago
Piers has helped transform GMB since joining the show six years agoCredit: PA:Press Association

It remains the most tweeted about show in TV history.

So why are people tuning in in their droves to listen to blustering Piers?

This, in a slot more traditionally filled with amiable presenters making small talk about the weather, photos of viewers’ pets and non-contentious news stories of the day.

Piers muses: "I think it's the chemistry Susanna and I have - real yin and yang - and the way she holds me accountable for a lot of the stuff I say.

"Viewers really like that because it mirrors all the debates everyone's having at home amongst their friends and families.

"That's been one of the key components to our success too - that we argue with each other as much as we do with people who come on the show."

Whilst Susanna, 50, looks just about ready to throttle Piers at any given moment, off-air the pair are good friends, regularly socialising after hours.

Well, in non-Covid times.

He brings his sometimes controversial opinions to the show
He brings his sometimes controversial opinions to the showCredit: Rex Features

Referring to the former BBC presenter as his on-screen “wife” - doubtless much to the delight of his long-suffering real one, journalist Celia Walden - their chemistry is undeniable and, crucially, unforced.

Since its foundation in January 1983, BBC Breakfast - originally called Breakfast Time - has remained largely unchallenged in its air-time dominance.

Shortly after, ITV launched its own version, TV-am, followed - 10 years later - by GMTV.

The inaugural show was hosted by Eamonn alongside Anne Davies.

After an initial fanfare, it lost two million viewers within six weeks and was dubbed "Grinning Morons Television".

Six months on, it reported £10mn losses.

Several (failed) revamps later - with new presenters including Anthea Turner and Fiona Phillips - the show was eventually re-branded as "Daybreak".

Alas it rapidly became an embarrassing ratings flop.

Piers has been a huge hit with viewers
Piers has been a huge hit with viewersCredit: Rex Features

Days after its launch, viewers deserted the channel’s big-name, big-money, signings Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles who, ironically, had been poached from the BBC.

After forking out £10mn for the duo - in addition to a multi-million ad campaign - the much-hyped stars lost one in five of the predicted one million audience after hitting screens.

The programme also lost 100,000 viewers within weeks - as people ditched the programme in favour of BBC Breakfast.

Four years later, ITV bosses tried one final throw of the dice.

With figures down to around 340, 000 - whilst BBC Breakfast was regularly averaged nearly two million viewers - Good Morning Britain was thrust upon the nation.

The following year, the Life Stories star joined Susanna - plus fellow weekday presenters Ben Shephard, Charlotte Hawkins and Kate Garraway - at the helm.

Piers and Susanna Reid cover hard-hitting news on the breakfast show
Piers and Susanna Reid cover hard-hitting news on the breakfast showCredit: Rex Features

To paraphrase good chum Simon Cowell, Piers has made the job his own.

Since signing a lucrative two year deal in 2019, he is now the highest paid British breakfast presenter of all time.

Or, as an ITV exec explains: “Piers is Piers.

“There is, literally and figuratively, no-one around like him.

“He has a combined personal social media following of 8.5 million people, regularly plugs the show across these increasingly important channels, and has the sort of global reach network execs could, before him, only dream about.

“Piers understands the media better than anyone, and knows how to play the game.

“He might come across as exceedingly combative, but off air he’s also throughly decent and extremely well-liked.

“Tellingly, he’s also the first to help a colleague in trouble - and money can’t buy that sort of loyalty.

“Piers and Susanna have had an incredible 12 months, and the show is going from strength to strength. The BBC are, quite rightly, concerned.”

And when he’s had his fill of telly, Piers could find himself up against his popular co-star…

Peter Andre and Mark Wright back Piers Morgan's bid to be Prime Minister with 'Piers Party' campaign video 

Earlier this week a poll found that a third of GMB viewers would back a putative move for Piers into politics.

Bookies have now slashed Piers’s odds of coming to power.

Betfair have made him 20/1 to be PM anytime in the next 10 years, and 10/1 to become an MP this year. 

Given his ongoing disdain with current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, would PM ever go for PM?

He laughs: "As for politics… listen, if it’s my turn to serve, and the people want me… who am I to ignore the will of the people?"

He just needs to smash BBC Breakfast first….