ITV to 'revamp' This Morning as it continues search for new presenter

LONDON - ITV is to revamp its flagship 'This Morning' programme, possibly cutting some of the show's regular experts such as agony aunt Denise Robertson and Dr Chris Steele.

The revamp comes as ITV continues to search for a new presenter to replace Fern Britton who is quitting the show in the summer.

ITV, which last month revealed a £2.6bn loss after tax for 2008, has denied that the motive behind the changes is to save money.

The broadcaster revealed in March that it would slash £65 from its programming budget this year.

An ITV spokesperson said: "There are no plans for any budget cuts to 'This Morning'. We are looking to revamp and refresh the programme and continue to build what is a very successful ITV brand.

"The search for the new presenter represents an opportunity to have a root and branch look at everything from the strands to the experts to ensure that the programme remains relevant to its appreciative audience and continues on its successful, upward path."

The two-hour programme, co-hosted by Phillip Schofield, has a roster of 10 experts, including Robertson, Steele, Britton's chef husband Phil Vickery, roving reporter Alison Hammond, TV gossip specialist Paul Ross, consumer and finance expert Andrew Oxlade and beauty consultant Nadine Baggott.

Britton is still co-presenting with Schofield, but is due to depart in July. She was reported to have quit because she was unhappy that Schofield's salary was three times as much as hers.

Britton was paid £700,000 a year for 'This Morning', whereas Schofield is reported to be on a £2m contract with ITV, for which he also fronts 'Dancing On Ice'.

Favourites to replace Britton include former 'GMTV' host Fiona Phillips and Ruth Langsford, who presents 'This Morning' on Fridays.

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