Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley are being dropped from ITV1’s Daybreak, it has finally been confirmed.

It follows days of rumblings – played down as ‘speculation’ by both sides – that they were to be axed from the show.

ITV said said they will step down from their regular presenting roles later this year to focus on other ‘peak-time commitments’ on the channel.

The show had struggled to improve on the audience for its axed predecessor GMTV. It was widely thought that the audience failed to warm to the two hosts, who launched the show last year.

ITV said that Adrian’s priority would be his role as anchor for live football coverage, FA Cup action, England internationals and the UEFA Champions’ League. His series, That Sunday Night Show, will also return for a third run next year.

Christine has already been unveiled as co-host for Dancing On Ice alongside Phillip Schofield. She replaces Holly Willoughby, who is to take a presenting role on BBC1’s The Voice.

ITV’s director of television described the pair as ‘superb presenters’ as their departure was announced.

It will be seen as a huge embarrassment for all concerned after the pair left BBC1’s One Show in the summer of last year in what was seen at the time to be a huge coup for ITV.

The pair had won plaudits for their on-screen chemistry on The One Show and it was hoped they would recreate the magic in their new roles. But within weeks of the Daybreak launch it was barely able to match GMTV’s audience, and was drawing only half that of rival BBC Breakfast.

It averaged 800,000 viewers in the past three weeks.