Phillip Schofield’s position on This Morning became increasingly untenable after viewing figures dropped by 170,000.
ITV bosses were ‘beside themselves’ upon learning the audience had dropped almost an unprecedented 20 per cent from 894,000 last week to 724,000 for Monday’s episode after the tensions between Ms Willoughby and Schofield increased.
Today the pair appeared together on the programme for the second time since Schofield, 61, made his extraordinary statement about the pair’s friendship, but did not address their feud. Viewers also complained that they were once again ‘fake.’
Despite this, the feuding pair will be back on tomorrow’s programme, ITV have confirmed.
Their fall out began in September when the pair were criticised after failing to queue for the Queen’s lying in state.
And the Daily Mail has been told that chiefs are now throwing around names for potential replacements, with housewives’ favourite Rylan Clark being mooted as a preferred choice by some executives at the channel.
ITV bosses were ‘beside themselves’ upon learning the audience had dropped almost an unprecedented 20 per cent from 894,000 last week to 724,000 for Monday’s episode after the tensions between Holly Willoughby (right) and Phillip Schofield (left) increased
When he did holiday cover for Schofield last summer alongside Ruth Langsford, he was a huge hit with viewers.
A source at the network said: ‘There is absolutely no question that viewers have turned on Phil, they don’t want to watch him anymore, simple as that.
‘Names are being kicked around, there is a lot of talk about Alison Hammond but Rylan has been thrown into the mix how too. When he and Ruth hosted it was an unquestionable success.
‘The editor, Martin Frizell has made it no secret that he is over Phil but the ratings drop is going to have exacerbated that.’
Schofield’s PR machine has gone into overdrive in recent days in a bid to make him appear more popular to viewers. But judging by social media, it has made little difference.
We also reveal that as well as Ms Willoughby, 42, being kept in the dark about his brother’s court case – which prompted the most recent tensions between the pair – some senior chiefs at ITV were too.
It has prompted some ill-feeling towards him.
Meanwhile, former This Morning presenter Fern Britton took a swipe at Schofield, whom she hosted the show with and later was reported to have fallen out with.
She wrote on Twitter that she and another ex-This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes – who also fell out with Schofield – had enjoyed a telephone conversation.
Ms Britton, 65, wrote: ‘Unexpected calls from old mates are so lovely. Just had the loveliest catch up with @EamonnHolmes. I think we have known each other since the 80’s when we were babies. Shooting the breezes.’ Her words were followed by three red heart emojis.
Earlier on today Willoughby was seen sharing a supportive hug with Kate Garraway at The Prince’s Trust Awards on Tuesday, but Schofield, who is an ambassador for the trust, was nowhere to be seen.
According to his website: ‘Outside of work, Phillip is an Ambassador for the charity The Prince’s Trust, dedicating time to further the work of supporting vulnerable young people in the UK.’
Instead he opted to go to the London Wine Fair to support the brand he collaborates with, When in Rome Wine.
On his Instagram Stories, the TV presenter could be seen laughing in snaps taken while he stood on the stall for When in Rome Wine at the London Wine Fair at the Olympia conference centre.
Despite the ongoing drama, Willoughby appeared unfazed at the lavish event.
Viewership on This Morning is significantly down at the moment compared with the duo’s significant Christmas show in 2022 which drew in 1.3 million viewers. In the first four weeks of 2021, an average of 1.4 million viewers tuned in.
Today those watching described the show’s ‘awkward’ atmosphere with one tweeting: ‘I haven’t watched the show for many months. I thought I’d watch today’s but it’s clear the partnership is strained.’
During one segment on the show, Holly and Phil were told a ‘tricky phase is ending’ by astrologer Hagan Fox.
The hosts stayed silent after his prediction amid their friendship fallout.