EXCLUSIVE: TEN’s Breakfast show has undergone its first production casualty with Dr. Andrew Rochford leaving the show today.
Rochford was given a send-off by the Breakfast team after the programme wrapped on air this morning.
A TEN spokesperson told TV Tonight, “Andrew Rochford is leaving Breakfast, but not TEN. He will be on The Project next week and will then be seen on other TEN programs.”
Rochford was the first name to be announced as part of Breakfast, having proven a good performer on The Project, including hosting duties when Charlie Pickering was absent. But he also ended a radio role with Mix 106.5 to take up the TV gig.
The move comes as TEN’s show struggles against the competition.
Since launching in February, Breakfast has failed to attract a significant audience, usually averaging around 30,000 viewers a day. This week it has hovered between 22,000 on Monday and 40,000 and Wednesday.
When the show launched Head of News and Current Affairs, Anthony Flannery described the market as a tough, competitive environment.
“We plan to make Breakfast a must-watch part of Australia’s day. From fact to fun, it’s going to be a fresh start to the morning TV schedule.”
But the show has been unable to build through word of mouth while Sunrise and Today are regularly over 300,000 viewers.
TEN is also trailing ABC News Breakfast which airs via two channels. Yesterday the public broadcaster had 45,000 on ABC1 and 30,000 on ABC News 24, while Breakfast pulled 33,000 on TEN.
In taking on the Seven and Nine’s breakfast powerhouses, TEN indicated last year it was missing out on the morning TV revenue but was in for the long haul.
Interim CEO Lachlan Murdoch offered NZ presenter Paul Henry a lucrative million dollar deal to join the TEN show. Early media reports focussed on his track record of controversies, but so far he has managed to avoid similar outbursts and press in Australia.
Commentators have noted that with the notable exception of its weather bulletins by Magdalena Roze, the show is too similar to Sunrise and Today.
Now trimmed back to one male and female presenter in Paul Henry and Kathryn Robinson respectively, it has just lost one of its other points of difference.
UPDATE: TEN releases additional statement:
“While Andrew Rochford left his role on Breakfast today, he continues to be a talented and valuable member of the TEN presenting team. His presence on The Project will increase in the coming weeks, as we discuss more significant opportunities with the Network.”
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