ITV have been criticised by former TV-am presenter Nick Owen for paying huge salaries to its breakfast presenter, which he suggest turns off viewers. Owen's remarks come after the channel readies its new show Good Morning Britain, with Susanna Reid heading up proceedings on a hefty pay packet.

Susanna ReidSusanna Reid Helms 'Good Morning Britain'

Owen said: "I joined TV-am (GMTV's predecessor) after a raft of big names had failed - David Frost, Michael Parkinson, Anna Ford, Angela Rippon.they'd not caught on with the viewers at all.

"They'd been turned down by Terry Wogan and Michael Aspel, so I was filling in until they could find someone, basically. But because no one was watching, we could try things out. They hired Anne Diamond at my suggestion and we had a boy-and-girl-next-door thing."

He added to the Radio Times: "I think all these announcements about high salaries alienate viewers. Here's someone on £1m - you will enjoy them! Who can relate to a presenter like that?"

Reid hit the headlines after leaving the BBC for ITV in a deal thought to be worth £1 million, though sources say her contract is actually  less than half that.

Good Morning BritainSean Fletcher, Susanna Reid, Ben Shepard and Charlotte Hawkins - The Good Morning Britain Team

One said: "ITV are thrilled to have Susanna as part of the new GMB team. But stories that she is paid in the region of £1m are not true - it's far off this."

Meanwhile, MediaGuardian has learned that Good Morning Britain's new set up will feature a large desk that all four presenters will sit around. Reid will be joined by Ben Shephard, Charlotte Hawkins and Sean Fletcher.

The show will have its soft launch on April 28 with news-based human interest stories, entertainment and sport. Its predecessor Daybreak was criticized for its garish purple colour scheme, though GMB will apparently feature more neutral tones.

Reid told Radio Times she will bring her journalistic background to the show: "At the age of 43, I have got three children and I have been a journalist for more than 20 years, so I hope I know a few things about quite a lot of stuff. Of course, I will bring this side of me to the programme; as a journalist, you bring all of your experience."

More: BBC bosses learnt of Susanna Reid's departure hours before ITV statement

More: Is Susanna Reid really on £1 million a year?