Piers Morgan has left the celebrity world divided following his abrupt departure from Good Morning Britain, with various stars coming out to support or criticise him.
The 55-year-old presenter left the ITV morning show following a backlash against his comments about Meghan Markle and her bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Morgan quit GMB yesterday after telling viewers he ‘didn’t believe a word’ Meghan said to Oprah and branded her ‘Princess Pinocchio’ after an interview which saw the Duchess of Sussex say she was suicidal and accused the Royal Family of racism.
Among the celebrities who have backed Morgan are BBC Match of the Day football host Gary Lineker and his former Britain’s Got Talent fellow judge Sharon Osbourne.
Others included former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, ex-England cricketers Kevin Pietersen and Monty Panesar, and Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy.
Among the celebrities who have backed Piers Morgan are BBC Match of the Day football host Gary Lineker (left) and his former Britain’s Got Talent fellow judge Sharon Osbourne (right)
Former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly (left) and ex-England cricketer Kevin Pietersen (right)
Former cricketer Monty Panesar (left) and Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy (right) have backed Morgan after he stepped down from Good Morning Britain yesterday
But there have also been stars glad about his exit, including Morgan’s long-time BBC Breakfast rival Dan Walker, while actor John Cleese said he ‘should be in jail’.
Others celebrating his exit were broadcaster Jameela Jamil, who claimed Morgan had made her contemplate suicide last year, and Irish singing duo Jedward.
Who could replace Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain?
Piers Morgan is leaving Good Morning Britain. Here is a look at the runners and riders who could replace him on the ITV news show:
– Richard Madeley
Richard Madeley has previously stood in for Morgan on Good Morning Britain. He presented This Morning on ITV between 1988 and 2001 and has a wealth of experience in live broadcasting.
– Adil Ray
Comedian and television presenter Adil Ray already works occasionally as a host on Good Morning Britain, and could be in line to replace Morgan on a permanent basis.
– Kay Burley
Kay Burley is one of the founding presenters of Sky News and has worked on the channel since it launched in 1988. However she is currently not appearing on the channel after being suspended for six months in September after she admitted breaking coronavirus rules.
– Ben Shephard
Ben Shephard has appeared on Good Morning Britain since 2014 and currently hosts the programme part-time. The presenter could be among those considered to replace Morgan on a full-time basis.
– Bill Turnbull
Bill Turnbull presented Good Morning Britain’s rival show BBC Breakfast from 2001 to 2016 and previously worked alongside Morgan’s former co-host Susanna Reid. Last year he reunited with Reid when he stood in for Morgan on Good Morning Britain.
– Charlene White
ITV News presenter Charlene White has also appeared on Loose Women. The newsreader and presenter could be among those who are considered to replace Morgan.
Among Morgan’s backers were Lineker, who tweeted: ‘Whether it’s a football manager, a television presenter or any profession for that matter, it’s always sad when someone loses their job.
‘Piers Morgan is excellent at what he does and I’m sure he’ll be back on the telly soon.’
Lineker later added: ‘I disagree with much of what Piers Morgan says, including his bizarre, obsessive rants at Harry and Meghan.
‘I also agree with some of what he says. The same as with most people I know. Everything’s so tribal these days. You seemingly have to pick a side on absolutely everything.’
And Osbourne added: ‘Piers Morgan, I am with you. I stand by you. People forget that you’re paid for your opinion and that you’re just speaking your truth.’
Kelly, who was interviewed by Morgan on Monday about the Duchess’s interview, said: ‘I don’t know what happened with Piers Morgan at GMB.
‘What I do know is he and Susanna (Reid) have been a brilliant team that took risks and became must-watch TV. In an era of free speech being stifled everywhere, Piers fearlessly speaks his mind. We need more, not fewer like that in media.’
Morgan is known to be a big cricket fan, and he also found support from former stars of the sport, including Pietersen who said: ‘I know Piers Morgan away from TV and Twitter.
‘He’s a f***ing legend, who is loyal, funny, caring and so much fun to be around! Hope you’re OK, buddy!’
And Panesar added: ‘Gutted to know Piers Morgan has left Good Morning Britain.
‘To create debates,discussions get viewers to interact is a skill top TV presenters should have and Piers has that in abundance. He did a fantastic job during Covid 19. I’m sure we see him on TV soon.’
There was also backing from Guru-Murthy, who said Morgan’s departure would be welcomed among members of the Conservative Party.
He tweeted: ‘For all you think he gets wrong (which are matters of opinion) few will be more pleased to see Piers Morgan go than Ministers who won’t face him anymore.
‘GMB always lost the ratings war to BBC, but was talked about more. Murdoch or GB News will bite his hands off.’ But on the other side of the debate, Jamil celebrated Morgan’s departure in a series of tweets and said she almost committed a suicide a year ago because of him.
There have also been stars glad about Morgan’s exit, including his long-time BBC Breakfast rival Dan Walker (left) and broadcaster Jameela Jamil (right)
Irish pop duo Jedward (left) and actor John Cleese (right) have also hit out at Morgan
Piers Morgan is pictured outside his home in London today after quitting Good Morning Britain
She tweeted: ‘May we NEVER have to watch minorities have to go on mainstream news and have to *defend* their right to be treated with dignity and respect… ever again. All while being screamed over by this man.’
How Piers Morgan transformed struggling GMB into ratings juggernaut
When Piers Morgan joined Good Morning Britain in November 2015, ITV’s weekday breakfast show was still struggling to outshine its predecessor.
It consistently had lower ratings than Daybreak despite a £1.5million launch a year earlier and high-profile signings such as Susanna Reid from BBC Breakfast, averaging about 560,000 viewers per episode.
Morgan joined the cast following a five-episode stint in April, and helped rocket the ITV show to its ‘highest ever’ viewing figures – which saw an audience of 1.65million people tune in last Monday.
But after a five-year career with Good Morning Britain, ITV today announced the tough-talking morning show host has sensationally quit his role.
Morgan’s resignation from Good Morning Britain marks the end of the latest chapter in his extraordinary career, in which he helped a struggling breakfast show grow into an undeniably popular news and talk programme.
On March 1, the ITV show achieved its highest-ever share of viewers at a record 28.5 per cent. The total viewers peaked at 1.65million at around 8.40am.
Morgan was often praised for his chemistry with co-host Reid throughout his time at Good Morning Britain, with the latter once explaining the connection between the pair was ‘instant’.
Reid, 50, said in October 2017: ‘He totally wound me up from the moment he joined Good Morning Britain, nearly two years ago.
‘He’s the most annoying man I’ve ever met, but I find working with him exhilarating.
‘Yes, he drives me nuts, but he also makes me laugh – and when the chips are down, and there’s a big news story breaking or we’re doing a controversial interview with a politician, I trust him.’
The colleagues quickly became famed for their vicious on-air battles, with Piers’ forthright views also often generating fierce debate and controversy among GMB’s millions of viewers.
For countless Britons, he was must-see TV, celebrated for his no-nonsense approach and for holding Ministers to account throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prior to his five-year stint on Good Morning Britain, Piers made his name in newspapers, becoming at 29 the youngest national newspaper editor in half a century when he rose the ranks of the News of the World in 1994.
The journalist left the paper following the controversial publication of photographs of Catherine Victoria Aitken, formerly Victoria Spencer, Countess Spencer, in 1995.
He later joined rival tabloid the Daily Mirror, but was sacked ‘with immediate effect’ in May 2004 after the newspaper published false images which alleged to show Iraqi prisoners being abused by British soldiers.
The photographs were shown to be fakes within days, and the Mirror claimed it had fallen victim to a ‘calculated and malicious hoax’ when apologising for the publication.
He later launched First News in May 2006, a weekly newspaper aimed at seven to 14-year-olds.
Piers began a distinguished career in television before departing the Mirror, reinventing himself as a CNN presenter in the US where he has a significant following.
He replaced television and radio host Larry King in the network’s evening line-up with his show Piers Morgan Live, which began in January 2011 before ending its run in March 2014.
It was around this time that the straight-talking host began presenting the hugely successful chat show Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, in which he quizzes high-profile celebrities including Sharon Osbourne and Trisha Goddard one-on-one.
The show, which began in February 2009 and is ongoing, has also featured appearances from Elton John, Rod Stewart and Captain Tom Moore – who raised millions for the NHS in a charity walk during the Covid-19 crisis.
Outside the world of journalism, Piers has also appeared as a judge on America’s Got Talent in 2006 and later on the British version of the show.
He also won the US Celebrity Apprentice in 2007, which featured former US President Donald Trump.
Moving on from his past success, and today’s departure from GMB, Piers remains a highly popular MailOnline columnist in both the UK and US.He was appointed editor-at-large of the publication’s US operation in September 2014.
Jamil added: ‘I almost killed myself a year ago because of Piers Morgan’s relentless campaign of lies and hatred against me last February. I’m glad I’m still alive today for many reasons.’
It comes after they had a row last February when Morgan released old messages sent to him by late Love Island host Caroline Flack, who confided she was ‘struggling’ with Jamil ‘aiming hate’ at her.
Another celebrity pleased to see the back of Morgan was his long-time breakfast show rival Walker, who tweeted last night: ‘Sorry to hear the news about your departure from GMB, Piers Morgan.
‘If you’d like to come on the UK’s number one breakfast show to talk about it… we could make some space for you in the morning.’
Walker then added this morning: ‘To all the shouty, sweary people telling me I’m nothing like you know who… thank you.
‘If you want a programme happy to exploit issues like mental health to create controversy, division and clicks, I’m delighted to say… you’re in the wrong place.’
Also tweeting about Morgan was Cleese, who wrote before his departure: ‘I see that Piers Morgan has ‘serious concerns about Meghan’s veracity’. I have serious concerns about Piers Morgan.
‘I believe he should be in jail, not hosting morning TV. I have serious concerns about Morgan’s veracity. Could he please sue me?’
Jedward were also delighted, saying: ‘We’ve turned down multiple appearances on Good Morning Britain cuz of that dope! And now the future is JEPIC!’
They added last night: ‘Tomorrow will definitely be a Good Morning Britain! Bye, Piers Morgan.’
Jedward also referred to Osbourne’s tweet, saying: ‘We aren’t with you. We don’t stand with you. It’s a NO from us! Sorry you aren’t going to bootcamp!’
The duo previously clashed with Morgan last September over JK Rowling’s comments on transgender issues, saying her new book was ‘perfect to burn next to a romantic fire’ – before Morgan hit back, joking that he would rather burn ‘your entire musical back catalogue’.
Referring to the 41,000 complaints to Ofcom over Morgan’s comments on Meghan, CNN anchor Jake Tapper said: ‘This is what happens when you live in a country where there is no First Amendment.’
But BBC News presenter Huw Edwards hit back, saying: ‘Jake — cmon — regulation is necessary or we end up with the kind of twisted c**p so popular in the US.’
It comes after Morgan labelled the Duchess’s comments in her interview with Oprah as ‘contemptible’, following his departure from Good Morning Britain.
Broadcaster ITV announced in a brief statement last night that Morgan was leaving the programme.
Speaking outside his London home today, the presenter described his exit as ‘amicable’, adding: ‘I had a good chat with ITV and we agreed to disagree.
‘I’m just going to take it easy and see how we go. I believe in freedom of speech, I believe in the right to be allowed to have an opinion. If people want to believe Meghan Markle, that’s entirely their right.
‘I don’t believe almost anything that comes out of her mouth and I think the damage she’s done to the British monarchy and to the Queen at a time when Prince Philip is lying in hospital is enormous and frankly contemptible.
‘If I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly-held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it.’
His comments followed a tweet in which he said he still does not believe what Meghan said to the US chat show host.
He tweeted: ‘On Monday, I said I didn’t believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah interview. I’ve had time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don’t. If you did, OK. Freedom of speech is a hill I’m happy to die on.
‘Thanks for all the love, and hate. I’m off to spend more time with my opinions.’
Susanna Reid addressed her co-host’s exit and referred to his often divisive presence as she opened today’s programme, saying: ‘A number of people will know the news and many of you will not and will be surprised that Piers Morgan is not here this morning.
‘Now, Piers and I have disagreed on many things and that dynamic was one of the things viewers loved about the programme.
‘He is without doubt an outspoken, challenging, opinionated, disruptive broadcaster.
‘He has many critics and he has many fans. You will know that I disagreed with him about Meghan’s interview. He himself clarified his comments about her mental health on the show yesterday.’
Reid said there are ‘many voices’ on Good Morning Britain and ‘everyone has their say’. She added: ‘But now Piers has decided to leave the programme. Some of you may cheer and others may boo.
‘He has been my presenting partner, Monday to Wednesday, for more than five years and during Brexit and the pandemic and other issues.
Piers Morgan doubled down on his comments about Meghan Markle in a tweet this morning
Ranvir Singh co-hosted Good Morning Britain with Susanna Reid today after Morgan quit
Referring to the 41,000 complaints to Ofcom, CNN anchor Jake Tapper said: ‘This is what happens when you live in a country where there is no First Amendment.’ But BBC News presenter Huw Edwards hit back, saying: ‘Jake — cmon — regulation is necessary or we end up with the kind of twisted c**p so popular in the US.’
‘He has been a voice for many of you and a voice that many of you have railed against.
‘It is certainly going to be very different but shows go on and so on we go.’
Ranvir Singh, Reid’s co-presenter for the morning, responded: ‘Well said.’
She described Morgan as a ‘big character’ and said ‘many viewers will be absolutely gutted’.
Singh called Morgan ‘Marmite’ and acknowledged his role in Good Morning Britain’s success.
ITV said is it not commenting on reports that the Duchess had filed an official complaint to the broadcaster about Morgan’s comments.
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