The feuding TV couple are hosting the hit show after he called in lawyers over their falling-out and plans to ‘tough it out’.
The decision – confirmed yesterday by ITV – came after more than 48 hours of crisis talks between the network and the embattled pair over whether one of them, both or neither would be on air today.
But the pair were all smiles as they appeared live to millions this morning – although some viewers said it looked forced.
The first section of the show was a digest of Monday’s newspapers – but despite being on many of the front pages Holly and Phil dodged the story completely and spoke about AI ‘killing off’ the Loch Ness Monster and sex education in schools instead.
Instead of addressing the elephant in the room, it was business as usual with Phil joking that Holly could audition for The Little Mermaid and the pair laughing about doing a workout on screen.
Holly and Phil are back on screen together amid their faltering relationship
The TV couple are said to have held crisis talks with ITV bosses amid claims they may not appear on screen together
Instead of addressing the elephant in the room, it was business as usual with Phil joking that Holly could audition for The Little Mermaid
Holly and Phil both looked solemn as they set off for work today where they will be together on the This Morning sofa despite their degenerating relationship.
Phil 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.
It comes as ITV confirmed that the pair will host the show this morning, after more than 48 hours of crisis talks. Those close to the pair said today’s programme will continue to run smoothly, despite the feuding behind the scenes.
Former This Morning presenter Eamonn Holmes said on GB News today that the Holly and Phil deserved special nominations for the ‘best actors’ at the BAFTAs last night. He said: ‘He’s brought in lawyers, she’s brought in a PR team. The public surely suss that there is no chemistry, that it is a broken fit between the two of them.
‘This Morning doesn’t depend on who presents it. It’s an institution. It will carry on no matter who presents it. And anybody can check the viewing figures. There is no difference between when they present it, or whenever anybody else does’.
There had been talk that they may not appear together today – but crisis talks appear to have sorted a short term resolution.
One source told The Sun: ‘Holly and Phil are professionals and they can turn it on like no one else.
‘Although behind the scenes their relationship is nothing like it was, they are both dedicated to This Morning and keeping it together for viewers.’
Bosses from the broadcaster were allegedly furious after Schofield, 61, broke his silence with a shock statement about the fall out with his co-host of 14 years admitting ‘the last few weeks haven’t been easy for us’.
Despite this, Schofield believes he can weather the ongoing storm but even those close to him have said it is down to whether the audience believes the pair still have on-screen chemistry.
The feud kicked off in September when the pair were criticised after failing to queue for the Queen’s Lying in State, a situation which those close to him have dubbed ‘Queue-gate’.
One source said ‘he will think he can tough it out, like he has previous controversies, such as Queue-gate’ but added if one of the stars had to go it would be Schofield.
‘But to be honest, it’s out of his hands. If the viewers don’t believe in him and Holly, something’s got to give – and that will most likely be Phil.
‘It’s a massive week for them both’, the source told the Mirror.
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby head to work today amid rows and claims they no longer speak
The broadcaster has brought in Gordon Smart, a former Sun showbiz columnist and occasional Good Morning Britain host, to manage the crisis and ensure favourable press coverage
They added that it was down to broadcasters to decided whether to wait until the end of the year to make any immediate changes.
Sources at the broadcaster described the situation as a ‘quandary’ for its bosses because both of the former friends were determined to get their own way.
Schofield, 61, has consulted lawyers over the situation, which has been spiralling 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 host, to manage the crisis and ensure favourable press coverage.
It is a clear sign, say sources, that he is ‘taking this very seriously’ and is ‘keen to come out of the situation quickly’.
The feud began in September when the pair (pictured in August 22) were criticised after failing to queue for the Queen’s Lying in State
It follows crisis talks between ITV and the embattled pair over whether one of them, both or neither would be on air. Pictured: Holly in Hampshire on Saturday
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 some time. Everyone has been talking and now we are all rubbing our hands waiting to see what happens next.’
The feud began in September when the pair were criticised after failing to queue for the Queen’s Lying in State.
Things have become so bad that it is said they no longer speak when the cameras stop rolling. Ms Willoughby, 42, has now cut all ties with Schofield other than her This Morning commitments.
It is understood that producers had several options for how to tackle today’s show. At the centre of the decision was editor Martin Frizell, who backs Ms Willoughby.
It will be the first time the pair appeared together since Schofield released a statement about their friendship last Thursday without consulting her first. While on air that morning they failed to convince viewers they were still friends, with Ms Willoughby apparently unable to look her co-star in the eye.
Insiders predict a battle between ITV and Schofield. He has been a powerful figure there for more than 20 years, but his influence is waning. Bosses want to keep Ms Willoughby happy, and staff on This Morning expect the tense atmosphere in the studio to become more difficult.
While the co-hosts’ return is expected to boost ratings, executives fear that reviving their partnership will make viewers suspicious of any forced bonhomie. One insider said: ‘This will seriously undermine the show and its reputation. How can they pretend to joke together?
Schofield disappeared off TV during his brother Timothy’s (pictured together in 2015) trial over sexually abusing a teenage boy
It will be the first time the pair will appear 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 genuine, but it isn’t any more, so surely they will be making fools of their audience. But neither will back down. How can you just tell one of them they are to stay at home?
‘The headlines that will come from them being on together could really damage the show and its brand.’
Schofield disappeared from the airwaves for more than a fortnight last month while his brother Timothy, 54, was tried at Exeter Crown Court of sexually abusing a teenage boy. After he was convicted, the TV star said: ‘I no longer have a brother.’
Meanwhile, it has emerged that a runner on This Morning who struck up a friendship with Schofield quit suddenly. The man, in his 20s, moved to ITV’s Loose Women before leaving the network amid claims of a rift.
ITV and Schofield insist the Loose Women job was a promotion. But a source said: ‘He and Phil were close, then he just went off to Loose Women, which is a rival show. It was odd. Some of the network’s biggest names expressed surprise. He was popular. It was mysterious.’