Alarm bells on This Morning set as insider brands ratings plunge a ‘wake-up call’ amid Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby feud – as ITV bosses ‘eye up axing Phil in summer’
- The pair failed to address the rift when they returned to This Morning on Monday
The ratings plunge suffered by This Morning is a ‘wake-up call’, a TV insider said today – amid claims Phillip Schofield could be axed in a ‘summer shake-up’.
Co-hosts Phil, 61, and Holly, 42, have been marred with claims of a behind-the-scenes collapse of their friendship.
The pair failed to address their rift during This Morning yesterday or Monday, but viewers described them as appearing ‘awkward’.
Now Phillip, who has hosted the show since 2002, could be forced out along with top producer Martin Frizell, The Sun reports.
Holly Willoughby’s job is understood to be safe, but the host feels ‘trapped’ by the crisis and has contemplated quitting the show, a source told The Mirror.
Phillip Schofield is reportedly facing the sack from This Morning in summer shake-up, while Holly Willoughby is said to be considering quitting the show
Phillip, who has hosted the show since 2002, could be forced out along with top producer Martin Frizell (left)
Speaking to The Sun, a source said: ‘This Morning is preparing for some seismic changes this summer – Phil is lined up as the first major name for the chop when his contract expires this summer.
‘It’s highly unlikely he’ll be back in September.’
While an insider told The Mirror that Holly loves her work but is struggling to cope with the situation.
They said: ‘By removing herself from the situation she could protect herself better.’
Phillip is trying to ‘tough out’ the ongoing row after it emerged he had called in his own lawyers over the fallout with his co-presenter, sources have revealed. He has also employed a new PR man to help improve his press coverage.
One reported cause of the fallout is due to Phillip allegedly not telling Holly about his brother Timothy’s trial for child sex offenses. Timothy was convicted and is awaiting sentencing.
During the trial, Phillip took a three-week break from This Morning and publicly rejected his brother.
Last week Phillip released a statement about their friendship without first consulting Holly, which is also said to have affected the friendship.
Phillip and Holly have yet to address their feud on air and have continued to broadcast their show as usual – despite losing 170,000 viewers in a week.
Figures revealed Monday’s episode had an average of 726,720 people watching compared to 894,000 on the same day last week. Peak viewership was also significantly down at 914,000 compared to 1.058million on May 8.
By contrast, the duo pulled in 1.3m viewers for their 2022 Christmas show and an average of 1.4m in the first four weeks of 2021.
Senior figures at ITV called a crisis meeting following a wave of negative social media feedback about Monday’s show.
After seeing the reaction on Twitter, with viewers panning both Holly and Phillip, ITV bosses are pondering what to do next.
One source told the Daily Mail: ‘Social media is used as a barometer to see what the public think. Those in charge were left no under no illusion that it was a total disaster.
‘It was painful for the This Morning team to work on and it was just as painful for them to watch.
‘There was a meeting afterwards to discuss how it went that went on for some time. To be honest, everyone was just so relieved to get it over with, but even if the show does continue to go on for some time, it will continue to be a massive headache.’