Victoria Derbyshire has said her morning BBC show, which is being taken off the air, is a close rival to Newsnight in terms of TV audience figures.
The journalist revealed she first learnt about cuts to her show, which airs daily from 10am on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel, in press reports last week and had been “devastated” by the news.
BBC News director confirmed the Bafta-winning show would be taken off the air in a message to staff, saying it had “not been an easy decision”.
In tweets sent on Friday night Derbyshire hit back, saying her show had reached a TV audience of 288,000 the day before, behind 297,000 for the BBC’s flagship nightly current affairs programme Newsnight.
By comparison she said Sky News reached an audience of 70,000.
“Yet our digital figures are 12.5m a month,” added Derbyshire.
“Across 2019 we had 150 million views for our original stories and interviews which people bring to us because of the TV show.”
Its not clear how the 12.5m figure has been arrived at, but it could include iPlayer views, Youtube video views, social media engagement and page views if clips from the show are used in BBC News online reports.
Newsnight, which also airs on BBC Two, traditionally has a smaller audience on Thursday as it competes with Question Time on BBC One.
The Victoria Derbyshire Show launched five years ago and reached 7.4m people online in its first week, compared with 2m on TV.
It faces the axe as the BBC makes cuts to its news and current affairs programming in order to find £80m in savings by 2021/22.
Derbyshire tweeted: “If BBC cuts current affairs shows, in order it claims, to do more original journalism online (not sure people will approach the ‘original journalism unit’ in way they come to us with stories) how will not only our licence-fee payers react, but also newspaper websites?”
Press Gazette has contacted the BBC for comment.
Meanwhile a petition to save the show, which describes it as “vital journalism” and a “lifeline to ordinary people”, has been signed by more than 23,000 people at the time of writing.
In order to meet its savings target the BBC has restructured its news department in recent years, separating regional radio coverage, cutting staff at Panorama, and trimming news bulletins and political shows.