Innovation is ruled out on new TV show

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The Independent Online
'WE are the same old-hat TV-am but just a little bit different,' Lis Howell, programme director of GMTV which takes over the ITV breakfast franchise on 1 January, said yesterday at its launch.

She was trying to make her morning show sound as undemanding and as far removed from the strait-laced BBC as possible. Her chief aim is to be reassuringly downmarket, to hold on to the two million viewers, above all mothers with young children, who watch TV-am, and have not so far been tempted across to Channel 4's youthful Big Breakfast.

She said: 'The first thing you need to know is that words like innovation, experiment, mission, agenda setting are OUT. Yes, we have a vision, but it's a vision of cheerful, professional television for ordinary people.'

This seems to translate as plenty of blonde presenters and weather girls. Dr Hilary Jones moves from TV-am to dispense medical tips. Lorraine Kelly will front a section for housewives.

People can appeal for lost relatives, even a missing dog. There are contributions from an 'agony uncle', and a general knowledge quiz presented by Jeremy Beadle.

Ms Howell is already fretting over the launch on new year's day: 'Half the audience will be under five. The other half will be under the influence.'