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February 3, 2023updated 09 Feb 2023 11:04am

Piers Morgan’s Rishi Sunak interview drags TalkTV ratings above BBC News, Sky News and GB News

Morgan's interview with Sunak ran a day before Nadine Dorries' TalkTV debut, featuring Boris Johnson.

By William Turvill

Piers Morgan’s TalkTV interview with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak drew in an average television audience of 120,500 on Thursday night (scroll down for new figures on Nadine Dorries’ TalkTV interview with Boris Johnson).

The Piers Morgan Uncensored interview dragged TalkTV ahead of the BBC News channel, Sky News and GB News between 8–9pm, according to Barb figures shared with Press Gazette.

During the hour, BBC News averaged 72,800 linear viewers, Sky News 24,600 and GB News 21,200, according to the Barb estimates.

TalkTV has struggled to achieve the same levels of television viewership as its news rivals since its launch last April. Barb figures previously shared with Press Gazette, for 22 November to 21 December, show TalkTV has consistently ranked behind BBC News, Sky News and GB News in all-day rankings (below).

One TalkTV insider spoken to by Press Gazette, though, said bosses care more about “impact” than linear television rankings. Because it is part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, the impact of the channel’s big hits can be multiplied by coverage in sister publications such as The Sun, Times, Sunday Times and the New York Post.

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TalkTV, and Morgan, have also emphasised the channel's reach beyond linear television, for example on Youtube and social media platforms. TalkTV said clips from Morgan's Sunak interview had attracted more than two million social views by midday on Friday.

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TalkTV is odds-on to top the other three channels again tonight as , the ex-culture secretary, launches her new show with an interview with Boris Johnson, her former boss.

In an advert for the show, presumably recorded before Morgan secured his interview with Sunak, Dorries says to Johnson: “Rishi is like some kind of submarine prime minister. He isn’t out front, making the case: you’re making the case here now. He’s invisible!”

Morgan’s interview with Sunak is not his biggest show to date in terms of viewership. His launch night interview with Donald Trump averaged 319,000 viewers, according to Barb figures seen by Press Gazette. And the first edition of his two-part interview with Cristiano Ronaldo averaged 334,000 over the hour.

Update, 9 February: Dorries' show, broadcast between 8-9pm on Friday, did not prove quite as popular as Morgan's interview with Sunak. Dorries' interview with Johnson averaged 52,000 viewers over the hour, according to Barb figures. However, this was TalkTV's best-ever performance in this slot and was three times the average number of viewers it has previously attracted at this hour. It came in ahead of GB News (which averaged around 10,000) and Sky News (37,600), but behind the BBC News channel (142,700).

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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