PANICKED ITV chiefs have contacted Piers Morgan over a shock return to Good Morning Britain.
It follows a ratings slump since the outspoken presenter, 56, left the ITV breakfast show in March in a row over his comments about Meghan.
Piers revealed: “They reached out — there have been approaches. Never say never.”
Fans deserted the ITV breakfast show in their droves following his dismissal for refusing to apologise to Meghan Markle.
In his first newspaper interview since leaving, the presenter, 56, says: “I have no doubt I could take the ratings back to where I left them — but the doubt is, would anyone be allowed to do it that way again?
“I was hired to give very strong, honestly held opinions, which I did. But in the end I was asked to apologise for a genuinely held opinion.”
Piers’s view was that Meghan repeatedly lied during a bombshell TV interview with Oprah Winfrey and badly besmirched the Royal Family.
Now he has revealed panicked ITV bosses have approached him to return to GMB.
In what would be a staggering U-turn, the outspoken presenter was contacted to see if he would consider coming back.
Piers says: “I have had some quite random third-party feelers put out to see if I would consider a return to the show.
“I don’t want to say on the record who, but a pretty close third-party . . .
“As the Americans say, they reached out — there have been approaches to test the water in the wake of their obvious ratings issues.
“It makes me sad to see all the hard work we did to beat the BBC in viewing numbers evaporate so fast.
‘It’s their problem to work out . . . but never say never.”
The show and Piers’s now infamous rant became the most complained programme in television history, but was also GMB’s most watched.
He and co-presenter Susanna Reid overtook rivals BBC Breakfast in the ratings for the first time.
It later transpired that Meghan, 39, had contacted ITV boss Carolyn McCall and complained to broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom.
She accused Piers of dismissing her claims of feeling suicidal and potentially harming those with mental health issues during an on-air row with weatherman, Alex Beresford.
Unfortunately, Piers — who refused to apologise — was not able to see the ratings for himself because ITV’s IT department unceremoniously deactivated his email account.
He says: “I honestly think us overtaking the BBC on my final day is one of the proudest things I have ever done. It was something nobody ever thought possible.
“I would seriously consider (going back) if I could rip it all up, and do it my way. If I could produce it as well as present.
“I always felt slightly hamstrung there; they never let me have the team I wanted to have.
I have had third party feelers put out to see if I would consider a return to the show.
“When it comes to work, I’m quite tough and ruthless. I always wanted the best people around me, yet felt there was a little too much reliance on me to do my thing all the time.
“‘There are some very good people at GMB, including obviously Susanna, but they should have some other people come in to really give the show some rocket fuel.”
So who would be in Piers’s GMB dream team?
He responds: “Well, a certain weatherman definitely wouldn’t be around . . . ”
Piers’s departure caused a maelstrom on social media, and he was bombarded — even more than usual — with those defending him, plus Meghan’s chippy uberfans who deluged him with bile.
Presumably, then, given ITV’s obsession (quite rightly) with duty of care, was Piers offered therapy? “No!”, he laughs.
“ITV didn’t offer me any support because no one cares about people like me. It doesn’t work the other way.
“The woke brigade only care about themselves, and they only care about cancelling anyone who doesn’t sign up to their world view.
“There was no leaving-do, no carriage clock. But I have heard from everyone . . . Beresford is the only person I haven’t heard from.
“I shouldn’t have walked off, though, I do regret that. You can’t be the great crusader of free speech and then walk off when someone says something you don’t like.”
While Piers has much to say on the subject of mental health — and much, much more to say on the “woke brigade” — he continues relentlessly to poke Meghan and Prince Harry.
He explains: “I thought it was very cowardly for them to weaponise mental health and racism against the Royal Family, and very hypocritical of them to be doing it whilst making hundreds of millions out of their royal titles.
“I think they should be stripped of their titles because they’re trashing the institution and causing a lot of damage in the Commonwealth where a lot of the countries are believing this racism crap.
“They’ve become the world’s biggest victims in the middle of a pandemic. It’s pathetic. Harry needs to grow up.
“He behaves like he’s the only person who’s ever suffered grief in his life. He’s not.
“My father died when I was one, and I don’t talk about that for personal gain, or make money out if it.”
Piers, who was “ghosted” by Meghan after the pair struck up a friendship pre-Harry, has been quick to deny suggestions that he’s “obsessed” with the former actress.
Without irony then, Piers casually suggested we do our interview over breakfast at a West London restaurant . . . called Megan’s.
He gets stopped and asked for a selfie around 40 times a day and is genuinely overwhelmed by the public show of support.
Obviously, everyone wants to know where Piers is going next.
After he became Britain’s youngest newspaper editor aged 28, he has gone on to write a series of best-selling books including his 2005 diaries, The Insider and recent anti-woke hit, Wake Up.
He has also been an acclaimed presenter and anchor both here and in the US.
Not surprisingly, he’s been bombarded with job offers — although, unsurprisingly, radio silence from the BBC. He adds: “I’m open to anything really, and wouldn’t mind working in Los Angeles again.
“I’m having some interesting discussions but the nature of television is changing — how people watch and consume it. So I’ll definitely do something on camera — it’s just how that manifests itself.
“I saw Simon Cowell recently, and of course he got me my first big break in America.
“We walked for three hours. I got terrible blisters but I didn’t dare tell him because it felt like he was going to keep going until one of us surrendered.
It makes me sad to see all the hard work we did to beat the BBC evaporate.
“We talked about a few opportunities — I would like to work with him again.
“My kids used to only see me on GMB on YouTube — some of my stuff got 20, 30 million hits — and that’s how young people are watching stuff nowadays. So there’s no reason I can’t do that myself.
“I’ve already got a fledging production company, and I’ve had a lot of people who want to invest in me; give me a lot of money to do my thing. So who knows? But it’s exciting.”
Piers hasn’t cut off all ties with ITV and tomorrow night it airs a 100th-show special of his hit Life Stories series. On Tuesday, his grilling of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer will be screened.
While Piers says he has never tried therapy, he believes it can be a vital tool in helping those who do have mental health issues.
However, he suggests the ongoing conversation around the topic has led more people than ever to think they, too, have a condition.
He says: “I strongly believe those who need help, should get help. What I don’t believe is that 37 million people in this country are mentally ill, which is what reports are saying.
“We are encouraging a generation of young people to think that normal life stuff is actually mental illness. That grief, which everyone has to go through, or anxiety — which everyone gets at some stage over exams or boyfriends or girlfriends, or taking your driving test — this is normal life stuff.
“Kids need to be more mentally strong and resilient about normal life stuff. And this will allow more time and money to go into helping people with genuine mental illness.”
“Nearly every young person has been led to believe they’ve got a mental illness. The more we talk about it, the more mental health cases we get.
“And I certainly don’t like it as an excuse to make people lose their jobs because someone has been telling porky pies . . . ”
MY TOP FIVE LIFE STORIES
Piers said: “He’s one of the most genuine people in showbusiness. That came over in the interview.”
He told of the grief and depression he suffered when his long-time TV partner Ronnie Barker died.
Joan, 88, is to return for a second grilling by the presenter.
Elton, 74, also talked about finding sobriety and a life partnership with David Furnish.
He told Piers he lost his virginity at 15 to an older lady. Burt died in 2018 aged 82.
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