ITV’s Good Morning Britain has seen its ratings plummet following Piers Morgan’s dramatic exit from the show due to his strident criticism of Meghan and Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In the aftermath of the interview when Morgan’s epic anti-Meghan rants attracted widespread press coverage, GMB hit a high of 1.89 million viewers, beating rival BBC Breakfast for the first time. But his exit led to an automatic drop in ratings, crashing down to 1.4 million on Wednesday.
The shift in the show’s feel and tone provoked a passionate reaction over social media. One disappointed viewer tweeted: “I didn’t always agree, especially with @piersmorgan but I always watched. Don’t want boring in my life ta!”
“@GMB won’t be the same,” said another social media user, signing off with a tear emoji. While another said her morning routine had been “ruined”.
Morgan may have divided opinion, but he was box office in taking up positions on issues the metropolitan elite were uncomfortable with. Having voted Remain at the historic 2016 referendum, the former Mirror editor strongly backed Brexit once the electorate had decided to leave. He took a similar view on Donald Trump, who he knew personally through his appearance on US celebrity apprentice. He was frequently the only major figure on UK television to offer the former US president the benefit of the doubt.
More recently, Morgan gained notoriety for his hardline views on containing the Covid pandemic, regularly tearing government minsters to pieces on live television.
The morning after the US broadcast of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview, Morgan slammed Meghan live on GMB saying: “This is a two-hour trashathon of our royal family, of the monarchy and everything our queen has worked so hard for and it’s all been done while Prince Philip lies in hospital.
“They trash everybody. They basically make out our Royal family are a bunch of white supremacists by this race bombshell. They didn’t name any which one it was, they just throw it.”
Morgan announced his resignation the same day he stormed off the set following a heated exchange with colleague Alex Beresford. It was later revealed, panicked ITV bosses who had received a complaint from the Duchess demanded an apology from Morgan. He chose instead to walk.
A petition named ‘Keep Piers Morgan on GMB for his common sense approach to life‘ has garnered over 144,000 signatures, with two other petitions in support of Morgan also amassing significant support.
He says he will not be returning. “I won’t be going back, but thanks to everyone who has signed these petitions. Normally, people start petitions to have me fired or deported, so this is a pleasant surprise.”
On Friday, he posted a handwritten note on Instagram, revisiting similar moments from earlier in his career.
“My fervent opposition to the Iraq War led to my demise from the Daily Mirror,” wrote Morgan. “My outspoken views on the insanity of American gun laws led to the end of my time at CNN. And now I’ve lost my job at Good Morning Britain because I chose not to apologise for disbelieving Meghan Markle’s claims in her interview with Oprah Winfrey.”
He concluded: “I thus became the latest ”victim” of the cancel culture that is permeating our country, every minute, of every hour, of everyday. Though of course, I consider myself to be neither a victim, nor actually cancelled.
“However, I do believe the defence of free speech and the right to express honestly held opinions, is the most important issue of my career, and the most important issue in British society.”