Broadcast Revolution Chats with GMB
On June 14th 2022, our very own Mike Young, Head of News, met with Louisa James, Political Editor, Good Morning Britain (GMB), to talk about everything related to the programme.
For those who don't know, Louisa worked her way up through local BBC and regional ITV before starting on national ITV in 2011. She has been a Senior Producer and Presenter at ITV's Good Morning Britain for over a decade (taking her back to the programme's predecessor, Daybreak).
When asked what a dream guest for GMB would look like, Louisa noted that various parts of the programme lend themselves to different sorts of guests. The first hour (from 6 AM) is mainly political and usually has newspaper pundits such as Kevin Maguire and Andrew Pierce digesting the daily news. The middle hour is primarily focused on debate and news features. During the final hour, the programme looks toward government ministers and celebrities for the segment. James cited that the dream guest right now would be Amber Heard or Johnny Depp. GMB wants to speak to people everyone is talking about and who people want to hear from. However, at the base of it, they're keen to hear real human stories and look toward having debates with people with polarised views. GMB 'loves nothing more than a really good debate that gets people going on social media', said Louisa. She also advised pitching an idea framed as a debate is a good way to pique the interest of the Editors.
Chat moved on to the viewership of GMB and what it's doing to keep the audience engaged. In terms of demographics, Louisa explained that GMB's average viewer is in their mid-50s and likely to be female. She highlighted that they are now seeing increased viewing figures from a younger audience, and an interesting driver of this is coming from social media. GMB is looking to 'create virial moments' for people to see on social media so that the conversation continues off air. Ultimately, as with most breakfast TV, people have it on in the background. Louisa said that GMB wants to deliver content that makes people' stop and need to watch'.
The logistical aspects of GMB were also discussed, and Mike asked about branded research and if it has a place on GMB. While Louisa explained that in the proper context, it could, they also do their own research polls as they feel it gives them the freedom to dictate the headlines. Louisa highlighted that for branded work, people should actively limit brand mentions which can also appear graphically on screen.
Louisa emphasised to anyone looking to pitch to GMB, 'think about what your story is going to look like; it's TV, so any filming or b-roll you can provide is invaluable.' She noted that often they have a good story pitched to them, but they don't have the assets to make it a TV piece. She pointed out that the best packages are tailored to different segments of the show. For example, offering a story with a celebrity ambassador with a case study and b-roll or a filming opportunity is a great way to formulate an offer.
Other Key Takeaways
- GMB loves having people in the studio, but guests can still be on Zoom if logistics don't permit.
- Due to the breaking nature of the news, sometimes interviews are dropped last minute. GMB tries to inform people as soon as possible if this is the case.
- It's vital to GMB to reflect the whole of the UK; they want everyone to feel represented.
- Louisa is most proud of the work GMB did when covering the Grenfell Tower tragedy; she felt the team 'did an incredible job with telling such a harrowing story – and striking a balance between people wanting to know what's going on and reporting accurately.'