Veteran TV-am host criticises big salaries of ITV's breakfast show presenters

Nick Owen has claimed that viewers are put off by watching ITV's breakfast shows, because their presenters are on high salaries

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The Independent Online

Presenter Nick Owen has hit out at ITV for paying their breakfast presenters too much – and said that high salaries can stop viewers tuning in.

The breakfast TV veteran, who fronted ITV’s flagship show TV-am, claimed that viewers can’t relate to presenters who are paid generous salaries to present shows.

"Here's someone on a million pounds - you will enjoy them! Who can relate to a presenter like that?" he said, before claiming that presenters on big salaries “alienate viewers”.

It comes as ITV prepares to launch its new breakfast show, Good Morning Britain, next week. The new show will be led by former BBC Breakfast host Susanna Reid in a deal said to be worth £1 million.

In 2010, Adrian Chiles reportedly signed a multi-million pound contract to front Daybreak alongside Christine Bleakley.

But they bid farewell to viewers in December 2011 after a year of poor ratings and bad press.

Since then, the ailing ITV show has continued to perform dismally alongside BBC’s Breakfast show, which regularly aces Daybreak in the ratings.

In an interview with the Radio Times magazine, Mr Owen speculated that TV-am was successful because it avoided using big name presenters.

"I joined TV-am after a raft of big names had failed - David Frost, Michael Parkinson, Anna Ford, Angela Rippon... they'd not caught on with the viewers at all," he said.

Although ITV has refused to reveal Susanna Reid’s salary, The Mirror reports that her salary could be worth up to £1 million.

She will front the new show alongside Ben Shepard, Charlotte Hawkins and Sean Fletcher.

ITV's head of daytime programmes Helen Warner said that Good Morning Britain will focus on "engaging, news-driven content".