HOLLY Willoughby will have two presenting partners on This Morning next week.
The TV star returns to the program on Monday after a two-week vacation amid ex-co-star Phillip Schofield’s sacking for a secret affair with a younger colleague.
On Friday, ITV announced that Josie Gibson, 38, had been chosen to present Monday’s show with Holly, 42, in an all-female partnership.
But we can now exclusively reveal that Josie will also feature on Tuesday before Irishman Craig Doyle, 52, takes over for Wednesday and Thursday’s programmes.
Craig has become a favorite to replace Phillip permanently after impressing in his substitute appearances in recent weeks.
An insider said: “Josie’s bubbly personality is just what the show needs to bounce back from a nightmare of a few weeks.
“She’s larger than life and will take the pressure off Holly, who viewers will be glued to after the loss of her longtime TV partner.
“Craig has also been lined up and it’s a sign that the permanent role is his for the taking.
“Viewers took to him right away, and not only is he fun to watch, he’s a natural on camera.”
Yesterday Phillip revealed the text he sent Holly asking for forgiveness – but she didn’t respond.
Emotional Schofield told The Sun he lost his “best friend” after he lied to his This Morning co-star about his secret relationship with a much younger employee.
In an interview with The Sun, he says the pair have broken off all contact – and reveals it was her pedophile brother’s imprisonment that kept her away from the friendship.
He says, “I lost my best friend. I let her down (Holly). I gave up on this whole show. I let the viewers down.
“Holly didn’t know (about the romance). And she was one of the first texts I sent, saying, “I’m so, so sorry for lying to you.”
“She didn’t answer and I also understand why she didn’t answer. So here is. If anyone in any way links Holly to this; this is absolutely, totally false.
“I had no quarrel with Holly. She’s my TV sister. But rightly so, when I’m in the middle of a show with bad press about something where I did nothing wrong – in fact, I did everything right – it’s a witch hunt. And that takes away that (friendship).
“Rightly, she’s going to step back and think, ‘I have to take a step back,’ and I completely understand that.
“As we see now, it’s a vicious game and the last thing you want is for something to stick to you.
“It was getting bigger than the people we had on the show. I understand that.”
Speaking to the BBC, he added: “I know you can’t answer, you’re probably not allowed, but please know that I’m desperately sorry.”
Holly shared an emotional statement when Phillip announced his departure from the show.
She wrote: “Hi everyone, I have been presenting This Morning with Phil for over 13 great years and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all his knowledge, experience and humor.
“The couch won’t be the same without it,” followed by a love heart.
ITV boss Carolyn McCall has been called upon to confront MPs amid the current This Morning furor.
She was called to testify before a parliamentary committee to answer questions about the broadcaster’s approach to protection and handling complaints following Phillip’s resignation.
The chief executive will face questions from MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s This Morning line on June 14.