Ben Shephard is set to replace Phillip Schofield as Holly Willoughby’s partner on This Morning
- Sources say Ben Shephard, 48, is the frontrunner to join the show permanently
ITV bosses are lining up Good Morning Britain host Ben Shephard to join Holly Willoughby on the This Morning sofa.
Sources say he is a frontrunner to replace Phillip Schofield in the role after he stood in earlier this week as bosses of the daytime programme attempt to find Ms Willoughby a more permanent sidekick.
Shephard, 48 – who was previously a stand-in presenter on This Morning, covering for Schofield between 2005 and 2011 – impressed the network’s senior executives when he appeared on the show.
Initially This Morning was going to be built around Ms Willoughby, 42, with rotating co-hosts, as GMB is with Susanna Reid, but now bosses have changed their minds and want someone they can team her with most days.
A source told the Mail: ‘Ben did really well and the bosses loved his partnership with Holly and there was great feedback from many avenues.
Shephard, 48 – who was previously a stand-in presenter on This Morning, covering for Schofield between 2005 and 2011 – impressed the network’s senior executives when he appeared on the show. Pictured: Ben Shephard and Holly Willoughby on This Morning on September 26
Ben Shephard presenting Good Morning Britain this week after a short stint filling in on the This Morning sofa. Sources have suggested it could be a permanent move
‘Ben is known throughout ITV as being very popular with the audiences of whatever shows he hosts. He is also trusted by the public and is much loved within ITV. He has hosted so many shows for the channel.
‘He and Holly go back years too – he presented on This Morning some years ago and they have a great rapport.’
Shephard currently rotates with Richard Madeley, Ed Balls and Martin Lewis to host GMB alongside either Ms Reid or his good friend Kate Garraway.
He stepped in more frequently when Piers Morgan first quit in 2021 and was the main presenter of GMB when it launched in 2014.
He also hosts the ITV quiz Tipping Point, which is pre-recorded, and the Saturday game show Ninja Warrior UK.
While he has also anchored shows such as The Krypton Factor and ITV2 spin-off programme The Xtra Factor, Shephard has 23 years experience of presenting on breakfast television.
He joined the long-running programme GMTV in 2000 where he presented Entertainment Today alongside Jenni Falconer.
Shephard is being tipped to replace Phillip Schofield as Ms Willoughby’s permanent partner on the This Morning sofa. Pictured: Phillip Schofield and Ms Willoughby presenting the show in March this year
In 2005, after Eamonn Holmes’s departure, he became Fiona Phillips’s co-host on GMTV Today, before becoming its main star alongside Ms Garraway.
After Schofield’s departure, Ms Willoughby had initially hoped to present This Morning alongside Alison Hammond, but she has too many TV commitments to do as often as that would require.
Instead she is regularly paired with Craig Doyle, Dermot O’Leary and Josie Gibson.
ITV said: ‘Ben is a much loved and popular presenter on ITV but no such decisions have been made.’