Penny Smith confirms she is leaving her post at GMTV

Thursday March 4, 2010

After 17 years on the sofa, Penny Smith is set to leave the GMTV breakfast show.

The 51-year-old's departure comes after weeks of speculation over the future of the programme's presenters as ITV reportedly faces tough challenges as a result of the economy.

It has also been revealed that GMTV's format will be revamped and will see Penny's co-host John Stapleton become the show's first special correspondent.

Confirming the news, Penny said: "It's an ideal time for me to say goodbye to early mornings."

"Now that the format has changed, I have taken the plunge and am moving on."

She will instead host a brand new Radio 2 show in June to find the opera world's next big thing, as well as penning her third book.

GMTV managing editor Neil Thompson said: "Penny has been a welcoming and familiar face on Britain's breakfast screens for many years…She will be greatly missed by the team. We wish her all the very best for the future."

Meanwhile, it has also been confirmed John is going back on the road to give viewers eye witness accounts of major national and international stories.

"I'm going back to doing what I love best," said the former RTS presenter of the year.

"And after 12 years of getting up at 3.45am, I'm looking forward to having at least a few lie-ins a week, when I am not on duty."

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