Ben Shephard tipped to replace Piers Morgan as permanent Good Morning Britain host

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Ben Shephard is being tipped to replace Piers Morgan as a permanent host on Good Morning Britain.

Piers, 55, sensationally quit the hit ITV breakfast show on Tuesday evening after it was revealed Ofcom would be launching an investigation into his comments surrounding Meghan Markle's interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The controversial host claimed he "didn't believe" that Meghan was left feeling "suicidal" during her pregnancy with son Archie, sparking over 40,000 complaints from viewers.

But fans may soon be waking up to Tipping Point host Ben, 46, who regularly fills in on the daytime show, as bookmakers have slashed the odds on him taking over full time.

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Ben is currently the bookies' favourite to replace Piers on the panel at 9/2, with Adil Ray at 6/1, and weatherman Alex Beresford and Wednesday's stand-in host Ranvir Singh both at 8/1.

He currently hosts the show on Thursday and Friday mornings alongside Susanna Reid and Kate Garraway respectively, but may be soon seated behind the desk five days a week.

Luke Tarr, Head of PR at Star Sports, exclusively told OK! online: "Ben Shephard has emerged as the strong frontrunner to replace Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, and punters are now backing him at 9/2 to take over permanently.

"Ben has previous experience in that role, filling in for Piers on numerous occasions, and has showed good chemistry with fellow presenters Susanna Reid and Charlotte Hawkins, so it would be on obvious choice for ITV.

"At a time when the show needs stability and viewers need a familiar friendly face, Ben is the right person to offer that.

"It might mean that we'll see less controversy on the breakfast show in the immediate future, but it'd be good in the long run for GMB."

ITV announced that Piers had stepped down from their flagship breakfast show on Tuesday evening, in a statement that read: "Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain. ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add."

It has since been reported that Piers quit after a showdown with bosses when he refused to apologise for his comments about Meghan.

A source told The Sun: "Piers was not going to back down. He was asked to make an apology but refused. He says he is entitled to his opinion and is always going to stand by it.

"When he refused to apologise, there was a stand-off. And ultimately it ended with him telling producers he would not host the show anymore.

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"His contract was coming to an end this year anyway, but he said he wouldn't do the job unless it was on his terms.

"The growing pressure from building Ofcom complaints and a swell of anger on social media gave bosses no choice but to try and get him to apologise.

"Unfortunately there were also a lot of concerns raised with the GMB production team too. Charity Mind also expressed their concerns to senior execs at ITV saying it clashes with their campaign."

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.

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