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Piers Morgan irreplaceable on Good Morning Britain, says Kevin Lygo – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: ITV TV chief Kevin Lygo says Piers Morgan will be unreplaceable on Hello Great Britain after the presenter left the series in a firestorm over his tirade of Meghan Markle.

In his first comments since Morgan explosively resigned last month, ITV’s chief media and entertainment executive told Deadline that Hello Great Britain will look to its existing presenters to cover CNN’s old anchor in the short term, before deciding whether a permanent replacement is needed.

“The piers are a special thing. You cannot replace someone like him. There is no one like Piers, for better or for worse, ”Lygo said. “We have a list of presenters, including Ben [Shephard], Susanna [Reid], Charlotte [Hawkins]and Kate [Garraway]. They all come together and do a few more days than they would have … We’re going to mix and match until we know what to do. There is not a single person [who can replace him]. “

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He added that this was an amicable separation under the circumstances and Morgan is welcome again on ITV, especially to do future rounds of interviews. Piers Morgan Life Stories. “I hate falling out with people,” Lygo said. This echoed comments from Morgan himself, who wrote in the Mail On Sunday that he appreciated his “open, honest and humorous” relationship with ITV’s programming director.

“Piers was on vacation half the time anyway,” Lygo said playfully. “He had a good run for Piers. I’m amazed it lasted this long. Believe me, there were other times when I thought, “Oh, here we go.” The last time I signed it was about a year and a half ago, and I remember saying, ‘Well, we had a great race, didn’t we Piers? I can’t believe there will ever be a time when I present a car clock to you for long service, so let’s keep it going for as long as possible.

Morgan’s self-inflicted exit came after he questioned whether Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, was telling the truth by revealing to Oprah Winfrey that she was having suicidal thoughts during her time with the Royal Family. “I don’t believe a word she says, Meghan Markle. I wouldn’t believe her if she read me a weather report, ”Morgan said on Hello Great Britain, in a rage-fueled outburst that sparked a record 57,121 complaints to UK television regulator Ofcom.

The comments did not easily align with ITV’s mental health initiatives, and CEO Carolyn McCall almost immediately steered the company away from Morgan’s tirade. Lygo gave Morgan an ultimatum: apologize or quit. Morgan recounted their conversations in his Mail On Sunday article: “ITV TV director Kevin Lygo, who I had spoken to several times since yesterday, rang the bell to say that we were now ‘on the edge of the cliff ‘and either I apologized or I should quit GMB.

“I appreciated his frankness – we’ve always had a very open, honest and humorous relationship – and I said I would call him back when I thought about it… Suddenly I reached a moment of total clarity: f ** k it, I wasn’t going to apologize for not believing Meghan Markle, because the truth is I don’t believe Meghan Markle … I called Kevin back, I said I didn’t believe me. apologize, and we agreed that I would leave GMB with immediate effect.”

Reflecting on the circumstances of the departure, Lygo added, “Half the world wanted Piers dead and half the world wanted a statue erected in his favor. You have to follow a diplomatic line. Piers felt he was doing the right thing, was very convinced of it, and we just felt that it was not entirely compatible with some of the things that we are involved in. It was an amicable split.

Morgan’s Markle moment helped Hello Great Britain beat up BBC breakfast first hit ratings on March 9, but the show’s audience collapsed in his absence. GMB was watched by 620,000 viewers on Monday, which was down more than half of Morgan’s final audience of 1.3 million and was the show’s lowest rating in 2021.

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