Please know this is not a defense of Piers Morgan.
But you cannot deny the nation, nay, the world, was salivating over any screen it could get its mitts on to see his comments on Meghan Markle following her Oprah interview earlier this month.
I’m not here to recount what he said in any great detail. I do assume after a week you know all about him doubting the Duchess Of Sussex’s revelations, which included her saying she had suicidal thoughts while part of the Royal family in the UK, which amplified the (necessary) conversation on supporting people who are battling with their mental health.
That was last Monday. On Tuesday, he was called out for his criticism of a pregnant Meghan by GMB colleague Alex Beresford.
And, as you’ve no doubt seen, he stormed off-set.
Following that episode, for the first time GMB beat its closest rival, BBC Breakfast, with 1.3million viewers and 1.25m respectively.
I can only imagine after the previous day’s display viewers were champing at the bit to see the fallout and what *controversial* comments Piers would inevitably say next (despite the 41,000 Ofcom complaints).
Fast forward a week and GMB trailed behind BBC Breakfast as the Beeb recorded 2.11m viewers and GMB was down by 255,000 on the previous Monday.
While ITV’s CEO Dame Carolyn McCall previously insisted there were no pre-meditated theatrics deployed with Piers’s choice to leave the studio, the ratings still suggest if there is no dramatic Piers-led confrontation viewers don’t want to know about it.
Whether people were defending him or sharpening their pitchforks, it was all anyone was talking about.
Now, perhaps the numbers would have been the same had Piers not quit and was still sitting on the panel alongside Susanna Reid. Maybe people just needed a break this week.
I know if I wasn’t a journalist that needed to be plugged into the news cycle to receive my salary, I certainly would have tapped out for a hot minute following the heinous happenings of the past couple weeks. Probably just watch a bunch of cat videos like it’s 2014, or something.
Or, just maybe, as a society, despite so many people bashing the #BeKind tagline on their social media like it absconds anyone of any real responsibility to try and change things, we actually prefer to see the shouty, interrupting, controversial and at times uncomfortable standard of TV spectacle alongside our cereal, even if it’s not Piers’ intention to court such morning drama and he’s simply ‘holding the powerful to account’.
It’s like, say, when people get angry at an entertainment website, for, oh, I don’t know, writing about Kim Kardashian all the time.
Such a website is writing about her and will continue to write about her until people stop reading about her in such numbers that encourage more stories. It shouldn’t be rocket science that so long as content creators across the board can see just how popular certain people, themes, and angles are, they’re not going anywhere.
Again, before you turn your pitchfork on me, not defending anyone here, just stating some truths.
As Piers’s former co-host Susanna Reid was told she’s ‘not Piers’ yesterday during an interview with Edwina Currie, it suggests to me those behind-the-scenes on these programmes also know that an audience thrives on heated moments that grab the headlines and Twitter trends.
No wonder then, Piers is said to be at the centre of a £10m bidding frenzy among rival stations desperate to snap him up, eh?
This just bolsters my point that as much as we like to think we don’t support these sort of TV moments, we can be a people that thrives on division and controversy. To quote Pam from Gavin and Stacey (again): ‘It’s all the drama, Mick, I just love it.’
I may like to insert a flippant pop culture reference that does little to lighten the mood, sure, but with calls to overthrow the whole format of GMB – rather than replace Piers with another middle-aged white man who has an opinion he’s not afraid to use – and start fresh, I question how that will happen while TV bosses can see drama = eyes = advertising = money.
We may like to think we’re better than that, and some – a lot – of you are, but the ratings suggest that as a whole we simply can’t help ourselves.
Credit: Original article published here.