Presenter Willoughby stepped down from the daytime programme in October after almost 14 years after a man was charged in relation to an alleged plot to kidnap and murder her. It came just a few months after her long-term co-host Phillip Schofield left amid a scandal that saw him admitting to having an “unwise but not illegal” affair with a younger ITV colleague.
Since then the show has been hosted by a rotating cast of presenters, including Josie Gibson, Rochelle Humes, Craig Doyle, Rylan and Emma Willis. But there has been a lot of speculation about whether This Morning would pick permanent replacements for Willoughby and Schofield – and who that might be.
Are Cat Deeley and Ben Shephard the new This Morning presenters?
Former SM:TV star Deeley guest hosted This Morning with Rylan late last year, and went down a storm with viewers who branded her “classy” and “professional”. Shephard also wowed fans when he took to the sofa a few weeks earlier, with fans saying he was “brilliant”.
The Mirror has now reported that both stars will be presenters on the ITV show, with the news expected to be officially announced in March. They will not just be joining the rotating line-up, but will apparently be the permanent replacements for Willoughby and Schofield.
Their publicity material is expected to be shot this month, the publication said.
What happened on This Morning?
This time last year, everything seemed fine on This Morning, with Willoughby and Schofield on the sofa through the week and Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary taking over on Fridays. But cracks started to show in May, with reports of tension between Willoughby and Schofield, who were close friends as well as co-hosts on This Morning and Dancing On Ice.
Reports that the end was coming started swirling and on 20 May, Schofield announced that he was stepping down. A few days later he admitted to having an affair with a much younger ITV staff member, which he explained was “unwise but not illegal”.
He went on to give a couple of interviews amid the scandal, telling the BBC’s Amol Rajan that he felt that he had “lost everything”. He also opened up about the impact on his mental health, admitting that he understood how late Love Island host Caroline Flack – who took her own life in 2020 – must have felt.
Holly Willoughby quit five months after co-star Phillip Schofield
Willoughby took a break after the scandal then returned to This Morning in June, where she addressed what had happened and said that she felt “let down”.
“You, me, and all of us at This Morning gave our love and support to someone who was not telling the truth, who acted in a way that they themselves felt that they had to resign from ITV, and step down from a career that they loved,” she told viewers. “That is a lot to process.”
The star continued on the programme for a few months, until reports of her being the intended target of a kidnap plot emerged. Then on 10 October the mum-of-three announced on social media that she had made the decision to leave “for me and my family”.
"I have let ITV know today that after 14 years, I will not be returning to This Morning,” she said in a statement shared on Instagram.
"To everyone who has ever worked on the show over the years, thank you so so much. This is such a difficult goodbye, you are incredible and I forever will be proud of what we've done together. Thank you to everyone at ITV for being supportive. To every guest who has sat on our sofa, thank you."
Who has been hosting This Morning lately?
After Willoughby left, TV bosses enlisted stars who were already part of the This Morning family, including Rochelle Humes, Josie Gibson and Rylan. Other presents to have done stints on the sofa include Emma Willis, Mollie King and Sian Welby.
While many impressed viewers, Shephard and Deeley have been among the standouts, with many calls for them to be made permanent.
Yahoo has contacted ITV for comment.
Watch: Holly Willoughby returns to Dancing On Ice