Andrew Neil has said “any network worth its salt” could find a role for Piers Morgan as a “broadcaster of his calibre”.
Neil refused to rule out speaking to Morgan about a role at GB News, the new network he chairs, following the former ITV presenter’s sudden departure from Good Morning Britain this week.
Morgan quit the role following a backlash against his comments about the Duchess of Sussex and her headline-making interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Appearing on BBC News, Neil said Morgan’s departure was “a pity” for ITV because he had brought “energy, dynamism and controversy” to its morning broadcast schedule.
He added: “It had always lagged way behind the BBC breakfast time show and people tuned in because of him.
“It reminded me of the old days of Newsnight. People tuned in if Jeremy Paxman was doing it. If he wasn’t doing it it wasn’t so exciting and the same is true of GMB.
“It’s a real problem now for ITV that they’ve lost him. The programme this morning was much more run of the mill, low key, kind of ordinary, so it’s going to be difficult for them to replace him.”
Neil, who is chairman of new network GB News, said he would be “delighted” to discuss future work opportunities with Morgan.
The network has already announced a series of signings including Dan Wootton, former executive editor at The Sun.
Neil said: “Piers would be a huge asset to GB News and we’ll definitely look at that… we haven’t started any negotiations yet but we would certainly be delighted to talk to him if he’s up for it.”
Asked whether Morgan would be allowed to repeat the kind of behaviour that prompted his exit from Good Morning Britain, he added: “You’ll understand I wouldn’t want to negotiate with Piers Morgan on the airwaves of the BBC.
“All I would say is I wouldn’t really want to simply transfer what he did at GMB onto GB News. But could we find a role for Piers Morgan? Of course we could. Any network worth its salt could find a role for a broadcaster of his calibre.”
GB News will feature more than 6,500 hours of content a year, made exclusively for the channel.
It has been founded by media executives Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, Neil added that he does not want “any shouting, or ranting, or raving” on the channel but that Morgan’s controversies helped ITV’s ratings challenge those of BBC Breakfast.
“I think he was also hard to control and I think that ITV felt he had just crossed the line and it was time to part company, and I understand that, which is why as I say we’d love to talk to Piers about this but I think we’d want to do things in a bit of a different way,” Neil added.
Morgan needs “a little period of quiet reflection before anything happens”, according to Neil.