Holly Willoughby Story: Holly Willoughby has said she is quitting ITV show This Morning after 14 years “for me and my family”.
She had been absent from the daytime program since last week, when a man was charged with soliciting to commit murder over an alleged plot to kidnap the TV presenter.
“I have let ITV know today that after 14 years, I will not be returning to This Morning,” she posted on Tuesday.
Holly Willoughby Story, Her statement didn’t refer directly to last week’s alleged plot.
She added: “It’s been an honor to just be part of its story and I know this story has many chapters left to go. Sadly, however, I now feel I have to make this decision for me and my family.
“I will miss you all so much.”
Holly Willoughby Story: What next for This Morning after Holly’s exit?
Holly Willoughby Story, The news also comes five months after the show was engulfed in scandal when her former co-host Phillip Schofield left after admitting lying about an affair with a younger colleague.
Willoughby, 42, thanked everybody who has worked on the program, writing: “This is such a difficult goodbye, you are incredible and I forever will be proud of what we’ve done together.”
She added: “Thank you to everyone at ITV for being supportive. To every guest who has sat on our sofa, thank you.
“Most of all, thank you to the wonderful viewers. You’ve been so loyal, so supportive and the very best company every day.”
Holly Willoughby Story, ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment Kevin Lygo said: “We are sad that Holly is leaving This Morning, but respect her decision which we know will have been extremely difficult for her to make.
“Holly is one of the best loved, respected and most accomplished broadcasters in the UK.
“She has been at the heart of This Morning for the past 14 years, and she is adored by our viewers.
“Holly has brought her unique brand of warmth, energy, humor and fun to one of the country’s most popular daytime shows, and everyone on the program will miss her enormously.
“She remains a much loved member of the ITV family and we look forward to continuing to work with her in the future.”
Holly Willoughby Story, This Morning co-host Alison Hammond replied to Willoughby on Instagram: “This is a very sad day! Love you.”
Dermot O’Leary added: “Nothing but love and respect for you and yours. X”
Regular contributor Vanessa Feltz wrote: “We will miss you so very much my darling.”
Willoughby and Schofield hosted This Morning guests including the future King and Queen, who appeared in 2018
Holly Willoughby Story, Willoughby, who has three children with husband Daniel Baldwin, presented her final episode of the show last Wednesday.
On Thursday, she was reported to be under police protection at her home.
Gavin Plumb, of Potters Field, in Harlow, Essex, appeared in court on Friday accused of “soliciting, encouraging, persuading, endeavouring to persuade or proposing to a third party” to murder Willoughby last week.
Holly Willoughby Story, He was remanded in custody to appear for a plea hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on 3 November.
Willoughby’s turbulent year
Holly Willoughby Story, Willoughby started out presenting children’s programmes before being paired with Schofield to host Dancing on Ice in 2006, and then the long-running This Morning in 2009.
The pair’s success led This Morning to win National Television Awards in the daytime, live magazine and topical magazine programme categories for 12 years in a row.
But this year it missed out, and she and the programme have endured a turbulent spell.
Holly Willoughby Story, Willoughby and Schofield have presented Dancing on Ice since 2006 but it’s not yet known who will be the hosts of the 2024 series
The hosts faced criticism after they were accused of jumping a queue to view the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth last September, and then Schofield’s affair put the show in crisis in May.
Willoughby said it was “very hurtful” to discover her co-host had lied to her about his relationship with a younger male ITV employee.
Holly Willoughby Story, The fallout led to Schofield’s departure from ITV and wider accusations of a toxic workplace on the programme.
When Willoughby returned to This Morning after the furore, she addressed viewers directly, asking them: “Are you OK? I hope so.”
This Morning has been presented by Josie Gibson and Craig Doyle this week, with Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond among the show’s other hosts.
Holly Willoughby Story, ITV has not yet announced who will replace Schofield or Willoughby on This Morning, or who will front the new series of Dancing on Ice.
Holly Willoughby Story: What next for This Morning?
Holly Willoughby Story, This Morning is now at a crossroads. The format could certainly survive with new presenters – but ITV could just as easily take the opportunity to do something new with their mid-morning slot.
It’s unlikely the daytime show would be cancelled, at least immediately. That would leave a three-hour gap in the schedule which would not be easily filled.
Holly Willoughby Story, The show is relatively cheap to make and the core format – recipes, agony aunts and celebrity interviews – is something that isn’t dependent on the consistency of the personalities presenting it.
It’s worth noting that ITV never replaced Piers Morgan after his exit from Good Morning Britain in March 2021. The programme has survived perfectly well for two-and-a-half years with a rotating roster of guest presenters, because ultimately it’s the format of news and entertainment that people tune in for.
Holly Willoughby Story, Having said that, if ITV were thinking of doing something different from This Morning, this would be an opportune moment to do it. The show has, after all, been on air since 1988.
Holly Willoughby Story, Now that both Schofield and Willoughby have exited, ITV could be tempted to shake up the brand, and launch a new program – with a new title, new studio, new branding and new presenters – but with a similar format.