ITV reported to be mulling GMTV-ITN news merger

ITV could cut between 50 and 100 editorial staff by swallowng GMTV’s newsroom into ITN, the Daily Mirror reports today.

It suggests that hosts John Stapleton and Penny Smith could be axed in the move, reporting that they are earning £250,000 and £175,000 a year respectively. Stapleton and Smith currently anchor an hour of news coverage from 6-7am on GMTV.

A “source at ITV” told the Mirror: “Discussions about this process are already at an advanced stage. It makes sense for ITN to do all the news on GMTV, including bulletins and broadcasts live from breaking stories.

“But if they do that, it would mean big changes to the first hour of GMTV, and that wouldn’t be good news for John or Penny. They are both big earners and it may make sense to just use ITN newsreaders and journalists to front the show at a much lower cost.”

The Mirror quotes one estimate that between 50 and 100 staff at GMTV could be cut under the change.

It quotes a newsroom source: “At the moment there is a situation where during big news events we are doubling up with journalists from GMTV and ITN both on the scene. It doesn’t make any financial sense and it is such an obvious and easy way to make cuts.

“ITN already has around 750 staff, so whilst some GMTV journalists may be kept on, there are sure to be some on their way out. This could save huge amounts of costs.

“We are talking millions of pounds every year. It would also be a way of developing the programme and possibly making the news more up to date for less money.”

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