Wednesday, April 20, 2011

'Chiles is grumpy and Bleakley comes across as a giggling airhead': Daybreak one of the most unpopular shows on TV

By Liz Thomas and Paul Revoir

Poor showing: New research reveals that Daybreak is regularly chosen last by polled viewers when asked to rate TV shows they watch

ITV’s ailing breakfast show Daybreak is one of the most unpopular shows on television new research has revealed.

The broadcaster ploughed £15 million into launching Daybreak and poached Adrian Chiles, 44, and Christine Bleakley, 32, from the BBC to front it with a bumper pay offer.

Ratings have dropped to below 700,000 – less than half of its rival BBC Breakfast and well below predecessor GMTV’s average audience of around one million.

Now in a further blow, audience research has shown that Daybreak is regularly comes bottom when viewers are asked to rate shows they watch.

Leaked figures from the BBC’s Audience Appreciate Index – known as AI – reveal that the ITV breakfast show is often named one of the least popular programmes on television.

The corporation have been using the AI, which sees as much as 20,000 viewers polled daily, for decades to ensure it is meeting its public service commitments.

Across the terrestrial channels and the BBC’s digital stations every programme gets a rating out of 100 – with the most popular shows scoring 90 and above.

Bad reviews: While the average rating for a TV programme was 82, the breakfast show, starring Christine Bleakley and Adrian Chiles, scored in the low 60s

On average programmes get a rating of 82 but insiders have revealed that Daybreak is consistently getting a scores in the mid to low 60s for the past few months.

Such figures are regarded as poor and it means that viewers are dissatisfied with the quality of the programme.

One source said: ‘Daybreak is regularly the bottom show or in the bottom five shows in the table - across the channels.’

The leaked research comes as it is revealed that ratings dropped to 690,000 this week.

The show launched in September with a high profile advertising campaign but within months ratings had plummeted to as low as 500,000.

Grating: Adrian Chiles was criticised for being 'cold' and 'grumpy' - he has admitted that he struggles with the 3.45am rises and 'doesn't do chirpiness'

Audiences complained the programme was too lightweight, cold and that Chiles and Miss Bleakley lacked the chemistry that made them famous on The One Show.

One said: ‘The chemistry between Chiles and Bleakley was lost once she got the massive pay rise as she thinks she is more important than she is. And Chiles' demeanour and delivery are ok for evening TV but not first thing. At 8am I want bright and pleasant.

Many felt Chiles was simply too grumpy for the morning and that Daybreak had too many light features and not enough serious news content.

Others complained it was not clear what the show was trying to be and the show was in danger of alienating its core audience of housewives with children.

Scathing: While Christine Bleakley 'comes across as a giggling airhead,' according to polled viewers

Another added: ‘The problem is the show does not seem to have any real identity. it lacks the gravitas of its BBC competition for those who like serious news in the morning and has lost contact with those who thrive on trivia.

‘Bleakley comes across as a giggling air head and Chiles has just lost his touch,’ one viewer commented on internet messageboards.’

A spokesperson for ITV said today: 'Daybreak has seen a steady growth in audiences since the turn of the year.

'Year on Year share of viewing is up 3.5% for our core audience of Housewives with Children gaining 1.2 share points on last year. March was our most successful month since launch.'

Ratings have improved in recent months and now average around 800,000 viewers a day but ITV has admitted the show has ‘underperformed’ and that its viewing figures have been disappointing.

Chief executive Adam Crozier said earlier this year: ‘Daybreak has not performed as we would have hoped.

Hasn't translated: One viewer commented, 'The chemistry between Chiles and Bleakley (pictured on BBC's The One Show) was lost once she got the massive pay rise'

‘Clearly it has had a difficult introduction but the numbers have now settled down. It is bringing in a younger audience and the programme has got a lot better over the last few months. The key thing is to keep investing.’

Chiles too admitted that he struggled with the early starts and change to breakfast programming.

He said in a recent interview: ‘‘I don’t think there’s a more gruelling show than a breakfast show. It’s psychologically tough. You wake up at 3.45am and that’s the best you feel all day.

'Most people get up, have breakfast, get to work and their day builds up to some kind of peak later on. But we’re straight out of bed, adrenaline, caffeine, news, stress!

‘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. That’s the issue. My mind will wander off in the middle of a live interview. It’s horrendous.’

He added that the blaze of publicity to which the programme launched had also caused problems.

‘It was embarrassing seeing myself on a big billboard. I wanted to keep it quiet,’ Chiles said.

‘I don’t think the British public wants to be told what to watch. I wish that we hadn’t done that and had let people discover it for themselves – more low key with less fanfare.’

‘We set ourselves up for a kicking, which we duly got. It’s been a stressful time but we feel that things are moving in the right direction. The scars and bruises are now starting to heal.’


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