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new pastures 'GB News needs Eamonn more than he needs it' say sources as TV vet set to become new face of channel

TV favourite is looking forward to new role on 'anti-woke' station

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The veteran broadcaster Eamonn Holmes is reportedly leaving ITV's flagship daytime programme This Morning after 15 years to join the struggling rightwing network GB News.

The veteran broadcaster Eamonn Holmes is reportedly leaving ITV's flagship daytime programme This Morning after 15 years to join the struggling rightwing network GB News.

The veteran broadcaster Eamonn Holmes is reportedly leaving ITV's flagship daytime programme This Morning after 15 years to join the struggling rightwing network GB News.

GB News needs Eamonn Holmes more than he needs it, says a source close to the star.

The veteran broadcaster is set to become the new face of the channel, which launched in June with an 'anti-woke' agenda.

But the politics of the station won't affect the ultimate pro, who's expected to host his own show next year.

The move comes after bosses on This Morning ditched Eamonn (61) and wife Ruth Langsford from their regular Friday slot after more than 15 years with the popular show.

They were replaced with Alison Hammond and Dermot O'Leary, although Ruth and Eamonn have since been drafted in as holiday cover.

"He and Ruth were shabbily treated by This Morning," says a pal.

"If there was a problem, they were there at the drop of a hat and nothing fazed them.

"We've now got Alison and Dermot who are as dull as dishwater with zero chemistry.

"I think Eamonn has got to the point in his career where he just doesn't care, and if someone on TV wants him to do something which is plainly stupid, he will inevitably comment about it.

"The move will be good for him because GB News needs him more than he needs it."

Belfast-born Eamonn, a broadcast journalist for over 40 years, has been popular with viewers for his off-the-cuff remarks and banter with Ruth.

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Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford

Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford

Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford

His direct style has occasionally landed him in trouble and there was a behind the scenes bust-up with his TV bosses at the beginning of the pandemic last April when Eamonn suggested people who believed theories about a link between 5G and Covid shouldn't be dismissed. It led to over 400 complaints to Ofcom, which later issued strict guidance for presenters when discussing conspiracy theories.

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The move to the new channel will mark a return to news for Eamonn, who presented Sunrise on Sky for 11 years until 2016.

"He has been working in news for 40 years and never has he indicated where his political affiliations lie. If GB News has a right-wing agenda, they are just like other stations, many of which have a left-wing slant.

"Eamonn has managed to surfboard over all those waves and it hasn't been a problem to him.

"He is not afraid to share his opinions, but he has never crossed over the line where someone could say he has come out as a supporter of Boris Johnson or he's a Keir Starmer man."

The presenter's pal believes Eamonn could bring a much-needed boost to the fledgling station, which has had a difficult birth.

It was plagued with technical difficulties during early broadcasts, and lost its mainstay, Andrew Neil, after just two weeks.

It has recruited other veteran broadcasters like Simon McCoy and Kirsty Gallacher. Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage also has his own show and former First Minister Arlene Foster joined the channel in July after her departure from politics.

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Arlene Foster on GB News

Arlene Foster on GB News

Arlene Foster on GB News

The station was engulfed in a racism row when presenter Guto Harri resigned following his suspension after he took the knee during a segment about the racial abuse of black footballers.

Eamonn, who hasn't commented on his move, is expected to take over a news role, but his pal says he's already proved he can do anything. He took part in an Indian cookery demonstration on Instagram last week, and recently fronted Farm to Feast for BBC Northern Ireland.

Sources say the station will also be hoping that his affable style will prove popular with viewers. Initial viewing figure of around 60,000 has plummeted and it's estimated to have around 0.3 per cent of the total TV audience.

"Eamonn is not Marmite; he's not a Piers Morgan figure. He has shown down the years he can do anything. He can do hard news, game shows, travel shows, cookery shows. He is completely versatile and a total pro."

The presenter told Sunday World recently that he'd been labelled 'male, pale, and stale' by TV execs furious that he was still popular on primetime shows.

He was forthright that This Morning bosses had made the wrong call in getting rid of himself and Ruth, but said he had his eye on new ventures.

"It's a whole new world out there. I have more people that follow me on social media than watch me on This Morning.

"People say to me why don't you just retire but I have no concept of it. It's interesting times in broadcasting and I'd like to think there's going to be a whole new world for me," he said.

roisin.gorman@sundayworld.com

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