GMTV editor Martin Frizell is to leave the company just two weeks after the breakfast TV broadcaster was taken over by ITV.
Frizell, who has edited the programme for more than a decade and is married to former presenter Fiona Phillips, shocked colleagues with an email late yesterday confirming his departure.
Staff fear that Frizell departure will signal the start of job cuts as ITV restructures GMTV to integrate it more closely with its broadcast and commercial departments.
Sue Walton, currently ITV Daytime’s Head of Daytime and Lifestyle programming, has been appointed editor of GMTV on an interim basis until a replacement is found for Frizell.
Frizell told colleagues that he didn’t intend to hang around “too long” now that the decision had been taken to look for a replacement.
He said: “There’s no easy way to say this but ‘I’m off’.
“ITV’s merger with GMTV seems like a natural point for my chapter with Britain’s best breakfast show to close and a new one to start.
“I’ve had a blast through laughter and tears, for ten years as editor and a while before that out on the road being shot at and frozen, up and down motorways at 2am. But it has been great, every second of it.”
Following an earlier annoucement that Peter McHugh, the breakfast broadcaster’s long-serving director of programmes, was to leave at the end of the year, ITV has also brought in Neil Thompson, currently regional director for ITV Yorkshire, ITV Anglia, ITV Tyne Tees and ITV Border, as managing editor.
Thompson will effectively take on Peter McHugh’s responsibilities for GMTV editorial and programming while also overseeing the ongoing review process.
ITV took full control of GMTV at the end of last month by buying the 25 per cent share it did not already own from Disney for £22.25m.
Thompson will work alongside the GMTV chief operating officer, Clive Crouch, and will report to Alison Sharman, ITV’s director of factual and daytime.
Clive Crouch said: “Martin has been a fantastic editor and has made an invaluable contribution to the success of GMTV over many years. He has been instrumental in the editorial and commercial success of GMTV and I will be very sad to see him go. I wish him all the very best for the future.”