'Pay freeze' for top daytime presenters at ITV following decline in ratings for shows like This Morning

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ITV top daytime hosts face 'pay freeze' amid a decline in ratings.

ITV's top daytime presenters are reportedly facing a salary freeze as the channel conducts urgent talks following a sharp drop in ratings for some of its flagship shows, including Good Morning Britain and This Morning. According to The Sun, production crews and staff on these shows, which are hosted by celebrities such as Susanna Reid, 53, Cat Deeley, 47, and Ben Shephard, 49, would have their incomes frozen.

Cat and Ben took over This Morning earlier this year after Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby left, reportedly signing contracts at £555,000 each, while Susanna's contract is thought to be worth £1.1 million annually. ITV has also warned of potential job cuts for both permanent employees and freelancers. According to reports, the channel is transitioning from long-term employment to three-month contracts and is considering cancelling its annual summer party, which attracts major stars.

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Four of their key shows - Good Morning Britain, This Morning, Lorraine, and Loose Women - are among those reportedly affected. The ratings have fallen so sharply that ITV's daytime boss called a series of crisis 'Town Hall' meetings last week to inform the teams, according to the report.

During these meetings, staff were shown a graph depicting the rapid decline in ratings, alongside successful viewing figures for Netflix and Amazon Prime. Bosses discussed Netflix's "Baby Reindeer," which garnered 60 million views in a month, Amazon's "The Grand Tour" with 170 million views worldwide, and "Clarkson's Farm," which had 11 million views in its first weekend.

ITV top daytime hosts face 'pay freeze' amid decline in ratingsITV top daytime hosts face 'pay freeze' amid decline in ratings
ITV top daytime hosts face 'pay freeze' amid decline in ratings | AFP via Getty Images

A source told the publication: "ITV is really tightening their belt. There have been concerns for months at the top, but now that it's trickled down to the shop floor, it feels very depressing. A lot of staff are being put on three-month contracts. Staff are hopeful that the UK elections will help boost their ratings."

An ITV spokesperson told MailOnline: "Town hall meetings happen frequently for teams to keep up to date with company news and also serve as an opportunity for staff to have questions answered. The latest one was to celebrate the success of Lorraine Kelly receiving a BAFTA Special Recognition Award and the two BAFTA nominations for Daytime last weekend. It was also a transparent portrayal of what is currently happening across the industry."

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Viewing figures for This Morning dropped when Cat and Ben began hosting earlier this year. Following Holly and Phillip's departure, the show experienced chaos as producers searched for permanent replacements. Cat and Ben were unveiled as the new hosts in March, with their debut episode drawing an average viewership of 806,000 and a peak of one million, among the show's highest ratings of 2024 so far. However, the following week, the figure fell to 692,500, lower than Holly and Phillip's last day, which had 767,000 viewers.

Former This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield during a photocall at the ITV Studios, Southbank, London. PIC: Isabel Infantes/PA WireFormer This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield during a photocall at the ITV Studios, Southbank, London. PIC: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire
Former This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield during a photocall at the ITV Studios, Southbank, London. PIC: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire

A spokesperson told MailOnline on Sunday, "As a broadcaster and streamer, ITV has a range of programming in its Daytime schedules. This Morning reached an average of 4.2 million viewers a week in April alone, its highest so far in 2024. In 2023, This Morning was one of the most streamed shows on ITVX. Like all media, This Morning has expanded into the digital sphere with record-breaking results.

“This Morning remains Britain's most talked about and influential daytime TV show and has never had a better connection with its viewer, with just under 160 million video views of 'This Morning' content and reached 63 million unique social media accounts in April." Earlier in the year, the show had peaks of 888,000 viewers in January and 942,000 in February. On March 4, a week before the relaunch, only 837,000 people tuned in.

Schofield announced his departure in May 2023 after his relationship with a younger male colleague was revealed. Shortly after, ITV bosses reportedly had to act quickly as ratings dropped to an average of 726,000. In contrast, the pair had pulled in an average of 1.3 million viewers in 2022 and 1.4 million in 2021.

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Holly also announced her departure in October last year after 14 years, following a man being charged in relation to an alleged plot to kidnap and murder her. Since their departures, Alison Hammond, 49, and Dermot O'Leary, 50, have regularly stepped in, along with guest presenters like Rylan Clark, 35, Emma Willis, 47, Rochelle Humes 34, Craig Doyle, 53, and Steve Jones, 46.

Ben and Cat are set to host the show from Monday to Thursday, while Alison and Dermot will continue to present on Fridays.

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