BBC hands This Morning host Holly Willoughby new series of reality shows as it bids to lure her from ITV with huge ‘seven-figure’ pay packet
- Bosses desperate to entice the 41-year-old over to front entertainment shows
- Willoughby is understood to have ‘hugely enjoyed’ working on Freeze The Fear
- ITV bosses believed to be irritated that BBC is attempting to poach their talent
The BBC is to sign Holly Willoughby to present another series of the reality show Freeze The Fear With Wim Hof as part of its bid to poach her from ITV.
Bosses are desperate to entice the 41-year-old over to front entertainment shows – including big Saturday night programmes ‘of a Generation Game nature’ – in return for a seven-figure pay packet, according to Corporation sources.
As part of the plan, they have wasted no time in setting up talks about her presenting a second season of the programme she fronted alongside comedian Lee Mack.
Miss Willoughby – one of the anchors on ITV’s popular daytime show This Morning – is understood to have ‘hugely enjoyed’ working on Freeze The Fear, which followed eight celebrities in a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the Italian mountains in sub-zero conditions.
The BBC is to sign Holly Willoughby to present another series of the reality show Freeze The Fear With Wim Hof as part of its bid to poach her from ITV
A source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Bosses at the BBC want Holly to be theirs, it’s as simple as that, and they know she really enjoyed Freeze The Fear. If they can keep her sweet with programmes like that then they hope they can gradually woo her into the right thing.
‘With the exception of Strictly which is only on for a few months of the year, the Beeb struggle for big entertainment programmes, particularly those hosted by women.
‘Holly is popular across generations – she appeals to young and old. To the BBC, she is an absolute gem, they want her and they will spend the money that they have to.
‘Holly is very much aware and takes the view that she will go where the programmes are.
‘So if the BBC get the shows right, it’s simple – they will get her.’
ITV bosses are understood to be irritated that the BBC is attempting to poach their talent. However, Miss Willoughby previously hosted The Voice between 2012 and 2013, when it was on the BBC. Freeze The Fear, which also starred Dutch extreme athlete and motivational speaker Wim Hof, was made by Hungry Bear Media, which is owned by Miss Willoughby’s husband, Dan Baldwin.
Miss Willoughby is understood to have ‘hugely enjoyed’ working on Freeze The Fear, which followed eight celebrities in a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in the Italian mountains in sub-zero conditions
The London-based production company also made the one-off Saturday night entertainment show Take Off With Bradley And Holly, which starred Miss Willoughby and actor-turned-presenter Bradley Walsh.
The firm was due to make a full series, which the BBC thought would have the success of the now defunct Generation Game but the pandemic meant filming had to be cancelled.
Hungry Bear also makes popular BBC series Michael McIntyre’s Big Show and The Wheel, which is hosted by the comic.
Miss Willoughby has presented This Morning since 2009 and has hosted ITV programmes Dancing On Ice and Play To The Whistle.