Staff working on This Morning fear the show could be taken off air following Phillip Schofield’s confession that he had an affair with a young colleague and lied about it.
Insiders say that there is concern that the embattled daytime show should be ‘rested’ for some time, or even be revamped with a new name amid fears viewers no longer trust the show.
One source said: ‘The show is an institution but it has been badly damaged by all of this. Lies have been told and that has undermined everything that the audience tunes in for. There is genuine concern that it could have some time off the airwaves.’
The channel’s senior bosses are coming under increasing pressure to declare who knew what when about Schofield and his relationship with the production assistant, after it emerged that they previously held an investigation into rumours of an affair.
That was in 2020 when, ITV insists, both men denied they were in a relationship.
Staff working on This Morning fear the show could be taken off air following Phillip Schofield ’s (left) confession that he had an affair with a young colleague and lied about it
Dame Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV, during a session at the Royal Television Society London Convention 2022
Kevin Lygo (left), Director of Television ITV, and Sky News presenter Kay Burley(right), at the Edinburgh TV Festival, on August 23, 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland
Fiona Phillips (left) and This Morning editor Martin Frizell(right) attend the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards in Partnership with TSB at The Grosvenor House Hotel on October 31, 2016 in London, England
The broadcaster’s chief executive, Carolyn McCall, director of television Kevin Lygo, head of daytime Emma Gormley and This Morning editor Martin Frizell insist that they were also lied to by the presenter.
Ms McCall’s communications chief, Paul Moore, was also involved in looking into the situation.
None knew Schofield had quit ITV on Friday evening until they read the statement he issued to the Daily Mail, admitting he had lied over the relationship.
It has now also been claimed that a star of another ITV show formally complained to management about how the junior employee had been treated.
Other staff are furious and worried that they are having to ‘deal with the very real fallout of Schofield’s mixed-up professional and personal life’.
One said: ‘We love [the production assistant] but he’s very troubled now. What if he can’t cope?’
Another source at the channel said: ‘It is pretty difficult to believe that none of the top bosses knew anything. There were rumours flying around ITV for some time.’
Meanwhile, Schofield’s former colleague Eamonn Holmes – who was left furious when he was sacked from This Morning in November 2021 – took to social media to make a string of allegations, suggesting station bosses knew of claims against Schofield and ‘never once took action’.
Ms Gormley, who oversees This Morning, is understood to have had a close working relationship with Schofield and Mr Lygo was also said to be close to the fallen star.
But last week sources said This Morning editor Mr Frizell had grown ‘fed up of clearing up Schofield’s mess’.
ITV issued a robust response yesterday, insisting that they were lied to by their former golden boy for several years.
A spokeswoman said: ‘ITV can confirm that when rumours of a relationship between Phillip Schofield and an employee of ITV first began to circulate in early 2020, ITV investigated.
Both parties were questioned and both categorically and repeatedly denied the rumours as did Phillip’s then agency YMU.
‘In addition, ITV spoke to a number of people who worked on This Morning and were not provided with, and did not find, any evidence of a relationship beyond hearsay and rumour.
Phillip’s statement on Friday reveals that he lied to people at ITV, from senior management to fellow presenters, to YMU, to the media and to others over this relationship.’
Another insider told The Mail on Sunday that some bosses fear the scandal will have an adverse effect on ITV’s share price when the stock market opens after the bank holiday on Tuesday.
They said: ‘The investor relations team are living on their nerves, they are worried that all of this could have ramifications.’