Phillip Schofield is trying to stamp out the ongoing This Morning riot after it emerged he had brought in his own lawyers over the row with co-host Holly Willoughby, sources have revealed.
It comes as ITV confirmed the pair will be hosting the show this morning, following more than 48 hours of crisis talks between the network and the embattled couple over whether one, both or neither of them would be on the air.
Those close to the couple said today’s program will continue to run smoothly despite the behind-the-scenes feud.
A source told The Sun: ‘Holly and Phil are professionals and they can handle it like no other.
“While their relationship isn’t what it used to be behind the scenes, they’re both committed to This Moring and holding it together for viewers.”
Broadcaster bosses were reportedly furious after Schofield, 61, broke his silence with a shocking statement about falling out with his co-presenter of 14 years, admitting that ‘the past few weeks have not been easy for us’.
Despite this, Schofield believes he can weather the ongoing storm, but even those closest to him have said it has to do with whether the public believes the pair still have on-screen chemistry.
The feud began in September when the pair faced criticism after failing to queue for the Queen’s Lying in State, a situation that those closest to them have dubbed ‘Queue-gate’.
A source said ‘he will think he can handle it as he has had previous controversies such as Queue-gate’, but added that if any of the stars had to leave it would be Schofield.
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield (pictured on their last show together on Thursday) both host This Morning tomorrow after he called in lawyers over their spat
It follows crisis talks between ITV and the embattled pair over whether one, both or neither of them would be on the air tomorrow. Pictured: Holly in Hampshire on Saturday
The feud began in September when the pair (pictured on Aug. 22) were criticized for not lining up for the Queen’s Lying in State
But to be honest, he’s not in control. If the viewers don’t believe in him and Holly, something has to happen – and it will most likely be Phil.
“It’s been a huge week for both of them,” the source told The Mirror.
They added that it was up to broadcasters to decide whether to wait until the end of the year to make immediate changes.
Sources at the broadcaster described the situation as a “dilemma” for the bosses, as both former friends were determined to get their way.
Schofield, 61, has consulted lawyers about the situation, which has been spiraling out of control for months.
The Daily Mail revealed last night that he has also hired Gordon Smart, a former Sun showbiz columnist and occasional Good Morning Britain presenter, to manage the crisis and ensure favorable press coverage.
It’s a clear sign, sources say, that he’s “taking this very seriously” and “wants to get out of the situation quickly.”
Schofield has previously used ex-News of the World bosses Phil Hall and Phil Taylor to deal with his crises.
Other ITV stars are said to be ‘fascinated’ by the situation, with one telling the Mail: ‘This has been going on for a while. Everyone has talked and now we are all rubbing our hands waiting to see what will happen.’
The feud began in September when the pair faced criticism for not lining up for the Queen’s Lying in State.
It’s gotten so bad that it’s said they stop talking when the cameras stop rolling. Ms Willoughby, 42, has now severed all ties with Schofield except her This Morning commitments.
Clearly, producers had several options for tackling tomorrow’s show. At the center of the decision was editor Martin Frizell, who supports Ms Willoughby.
It will be the couple’s first appearance together since Schofield released a statement about their friendship last Thursday without consulting her first. On the air that morning, they failed to convince viewers that they were still friends, with Mrs. Willoughby apparently unable to look her co-star in the eye.
Insiders are predicting a battle between ITV and Schofield. He has been a powerful figure there for more than 20 years, but his influence is dwindling. Bosses want to keep Ms. Willoughby happy and This Morning employees expect the tense atmosphere in the studio to become more difficult.
While the return of the co-hosts is expected to boost ratings, executives fear that reviving their partnership will make viewers suspicious of forced bonhomie. An insider said, “This will seriously undermine the show and its reputation. How can they pretend to joke together?
Schofield disappeared from TV during the trial of his brother Timothy (pictured together in 2015) for sexually assaulting a teenage boy
It will be the couple’s first appearance together since Schofield released a statement about their friendship last Thursday without consulting her first
Schofield (pictured with Willoughby in 2019) has previously used ex-News of the World bosses Phil Hall and Phil Taylor to deal with his crises
“Their friendship used to be sincere, but it’s not anymore, so they’re sure to fool their audience. But neither will back down. How can you tell one of them to stay home?
“The headlines that come from them performing together can really hurt the show and the brand.”
Schofield disappeared from the air for more than two weeks last month while his brother Timothy, 54, was on trial at Exeter Crown Court for sexually assaulting a teenage boy. After his conviction, the TV star said: “I don’t have a brother anymore.”
Meanwhile, it is revealed that a runner on This Morning who befriended Schofield suddenly quit. The man, in his 20s, moved to ITV’s Loose Women before leaving the network amid claims of a breakup.
ITV and Schofield insist Loose Women’s job was a promotion. But a source said: ‘He and Phil were close, then he just went on Loose Women, which is a rival show. It was strange. Some of the network’s biggest names expressed surprise. He was popular. It was mysterious.’