Phillip Schofield today complimented Holly Willoughby for looking ‘gorgeous’ at the Prince’s Trust awards last night – as she announced she was leaving today’s This Morning show early to visit Buckingham Palace.
Holly, 42, presented an award at the star-studded event at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London – with Phil, 61, who is currently locked in a feud with his former friend, nowhere to be seen.
At the start of today’s episode, Phil lauded his co-star for her glamorous look at the awards – where she wore a figure-hugging red dress – before Holly revealed she was going to the palace later to introduce the winners to King Charles.
Phil said: ‘So you are off mid dayish and I am holding the fort?’
‘Yes you are, thank you very much,’ Holly replied.
Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield live on This Morning for the third programme this week
Today’s show opened with a segment about how to care for your lawn
Holly looked glamorous in a figure-hugging red dress at the Prince’s Trust Awards in London last night
The pair have failed to address their rift during on air, but 170,000 fewer viewers watched Monday’s episode compared to the previous week amid claims the pair seemed ‘awkward’.
Concern about the breakfast programme’s future has prompted speculation about an upcoming personnel shake-up, with insiders claiming Phil could be forced out along with top producer Martin Frizell.
He told MailOnline: ‘I think ITV and programme bosses will indeed take a long hard look at the presenters.
‘Perhaps it’s a time to change and regenerate with two fresh faces. But don’t write any obits just yet.
‘Viewing figures fluctuate and I’m sure bosses will be looking at a long term aggregates.
‘The issue is to look at all the options and no bow to social media surges.’
Mr Borkowski branded the scandal ‘a storm in a tea cup’ and added: ‘The whole fuss proves how valuable the format it is to ITV.’
One reported cause of the fallout was due to Phil allegedly not telling Holly about his brother Timothy’s trial for child sex offences.
Timothy was convicted and is awaiting sentencing.
During the trial, Phil took a three-week break from This Morning and publicly rejected his brother.
Last week, Phil released a statement about their friendship without first consulting Holly, which is also said to have affected the friendship.
Phil leaves his home today to head to the This Morning studios in London
Holly – pictured this morning – has had a spectacular falling out with her former best friend, it’s been claimed
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 Phil, 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.’
Phil, who has hosted the show since 2002, could be forced out along with top producer Martin Frizell (left)
It comes as a relationship expert who has appeared on This Morning launched a blistering attack on Phil, calling him the ‘monster of daytime TV’.
Appearing on GB News, Louise Van Der Velde called for him to be axed and said she found him ‘arrogant’ and ‘fake’.
She told host Dan Wootton: ‘My outlook has always been, whenever I am on, to be respectful to people and you kind of expect the same treatment back.
‘With Phil, he is like this monster of daytime TV. He is rude, people have to sit still and speak when they are spoken to – it’s just a very aggressive attitude.
‘No matter how nice I have been, he has been arrogant. He is all nice and all smiles for the camera and jolly…
‘But frankly he is fake and it’s time he got the boot.’