Christine Bleakley to leave the BBC

After weeks of speculation, its finally been confirmed that The One Show presenter Christine Bleakley will leave the BBC and join Adrian Chiles at ITV as presenter of the broadcasters new breakfast show which will launch in the Autumn.

As well as co-presenting the GMTV replacement alongside Chiles the presenter will also work on prime-time projects too having signed a three-year agreement with ITV.

Ever since Adrian Chiles jumped ships to ITV to front the broadcasters football coverage and to present GMTV there has been inches of tabloid speculation claiming that Christine Bleakley would quit the corporation and join her former One Show colleague.

Last weekend the News of the World claimed Bleakley had signed a contract with ITV to do just that but this was later denied by both Bleakley and ITV and it was stated by Bleakley, in The Mirror, she was staying put at the BBC.

However, it was also revealed during the course of the week that Bleakley hadn’t made up her mind either way and was criticised by some for dithering between the two broadcasters.

It seems now though that the BBC have made up Bleakley’s mind for her by withdrawing their contract offer. Dithering between ITV and the BBC may be something the presenter will come to regret as the BBC has pulled out of contract negotiations and instead Bleakley will be transferring over to ITV to join Adrian Chiles.

The duo will front ITV’s new breakfast programme in the Autumn when GMTV is re-launched with a new name. Current favourites for the new name include rather blandly ITV Breakfast or more simply Day. The look of GMTV will be very different from its current incarnation with press claiming the show will go upmarket and more “newsy” while the future of the current GMTV presenters is in doubt.

As for The One Show it too will re-launch in the Autumn and seemingly with another new presenter to replace Bleakley. Amongst those tipped to get the presenting job are Fern Britton, Myleene Klass (who originally presented the magazine programme back in 2007), Nadia Sawalha (another former presenter on The One Show) and Lorraine Kelly who currently works on GMTV but there’s speculation the Scottish presenter is considering quitting ahead of its revamp.

As with Adrian Chiles, Bleakley will also work on other projects for ITV alongside her presenting duties for ITV Breakfast. Chiles is currently fronting ITV’s World Cup coverage which has been widely blasted by fans. A technical fault during the first England game, against America, resulted in ITV HD viewers missing the first goal because of an advertising break while the coverage itself has been criticised for being “lacklustre”.