How Holly Willoughby became one of the most power women in television

How Holly Willoughby became one of the most power women in television

Holly Willoughby’s £10m business empire: How This Morning host is one of most powerful women on TV after amassing fortune through scented candles, books, perfume and her lifestyle and wellness brand Wylde Moon

  • Holly Willoughby has a number of lucrative brand deals and her own business 

Holly Willoughby has been lauded the most powerful woman in British television following the departure of her co-star of 14 years Phillip Schofield from ITV’s This Morning.

Yesterday, in a dramatic ousting, Mr Schofield, 61, announced that he would be leaving the broadcaster’s daytime flagship programme with immediate effect, after bosses were given an ultimatum of which presenter to keep.

Ms Willoughby, 42, had told ITV that she no longer wanted to work with Mr Schofield, amid an ongoing feud, however, the pair are believed to have now formed ‘something of a truce’ in a private chat.

A source said: ‘Holly is the real winner in all of this as she emerged victorious and classy. She has played a masterstroke’.

Mr Schofield’s departure will allow Ms Willoughby continue presenting the show, which she earns £730,000 a year for, and protect her growing business empire, estimated to be worth £10 million.

She has amassed the huge fortune not only through her television portfolio, from presenting I’m A Celeb to Dancing with The Stars, but a series of lucrative brand deals from Marks and Spencer to Diet Coke. 

Holly Willoughby is one of the most powerful women in British television, with a growing business empire estimated to be worth £10 million. Pictured: Ms Willoughby with her Wylde Moon candle which sells for £40

Over the years the This Morning presenter has signed a number of lucrative brand deals from Diet Coke (pictured) to M&S and Garnier 

Yesterday, Phillip Schofield announced that he would be leaving This Morning with immediate effect 

The once inseparable pair had been increasingly growing apart over the last few months, after a feud was sparked when the stars were accused of jumping queues to pay their respects to the late Queen.

The presenter’s relationship was placed under further strain when Mr Schofield’s brother was trialled and convicted over child sexual abuse offences.

His decision to step down, which was announced in a shock statement at 3pm yesterday, came just over 24 hours after his brother Timothy Schofield was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Ms Willougby joined This Morning as a rising star quickly becoming one of the most recognised, and most influential, women in British television.

Talent manager Jonathan Shalit from Inter Talent Rights, which represents Joan Collins, Boy George and Eammon Holmes told The Sunday Times: ‘I think people hugely underestimate Holly.

‘Many people do not realise just what a powerful, intelligent successful lady she is.

‘Holly’s presenting skills are immense but not only that – her connectability with a television audience is incredibly strong – and that has value.’

Ms Willoughby was born in Brighton in 1981 to Terry, who worked at a double-glazing company and to Lynne, a former air steward.

Ms Willoughby’s career began when she was a runner for the shopping channel Auction She has since become one of the most recognisable faces on British television, with a number of brand deals. Pictured in a Marks and Spencer campaign 

Garnier is just one of the brands Ms Willoughby is the face of 

In 2021, she launched her own wellness and lifestyle brand Wylde Moon, akin to Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop. Pictured: Ms Willoughby at the launch of Wydle Moon’s first perfume 

When she was 14-years-old she was scouted by a modelling agency, late working her way up through the world of television, starting as a runner on the shopping channel Auction

She met her TV producer husband Dan Baldwin, who is now the owner of successful production company Hungry Bear, in 2004 while working on ITV’s Ministry of Mayhem. They married in 2007 and have three children together.

One source said: ‘Holly and Dan have a rock-solid relationship and discuss career moves together. She respects his producer perspective.’

In 2008 she landed her big break appearing on an episode of Keith Lemon’s Very Brilliant World Tour. She then joined as part of the original Celebrity Juice presenters, before becoming a permanent host of the ITV series.

The following year, when Fern Britton left This Morning in 2009, Ms Willoughby stepped in to take her place having previously presented Dancing on Ice with Mr Schofield.

Ratings soared by 20 per cent on account of their on-screen chemistry, which took a bashing in the last week leading up to Mr Schofield’s exit.

One source told The Sun following Mr Schofield’s departure: ‘Holly was a natural and the audience quickly warmed to her. Women wanted to be her friend and men fancied her.

‘The audience adored her natural chemistry with Phil and their obvious friendship.

In 2009 when Fern Britton left This Morning in 2009, Ms Willoughby stepped in to take her place having previously presented Dancing on Ice with Mr Schofield. Pictured: Presenting Dancing on Ice in 2018

Ms Willoughby and Mr Schofield have been co-presenters on This Morning for 14 years. Pictured: The co-stars hugging after Mr Schofield came out as gay live on This Morning in 2020

‘Watching them crack up on camera into uncontrollable giggles was such a highlight for viewers, that producers didn’t even mind them going off script.

‘It was a match made in daytime telly heaven and for a long time seemed unshakeable.’

The presenter is understood to be earning £730,000 on This Morning – the same salary that Mr Schofield was reportedly earning.

On top of this she has had a number of profitable commercial deals, including with Marks & Spencer, Diet Coke, Oral B and Garnier.

Throughout her career she has written 15 parent and children’s books, selling more than 250,000 copies and generating £2.5 million.

In 2020, Ms Willoughby made the shock decision to take her career into her own hands, quitting the talent agency YMU and setting up her own company, Roxy Management.

This led to a legal battle with YMU, where Mr Schofield is a stakeholder according to The Sun, over their 15 per cent stake in her future earnings.

But last year, she was handed £1 million in an out-of-court settlement with the agency.

In 2021, she launched her own wellness and lifestyle brand Wylde Moon, akin to Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.

Throughout Ms Willoughby’s career she has written 15 parent and children’s books, selling more than 250,000 copies and generating £2.5 million.

Ms Willoughby signing her book Truly Happy Baby in 2016

Wylde Moon is a wellness and lifestyle brand that also sells products such as diffusers and candles

As Ms Willoughby’s career continued to soar, Mr Schofield’s began to stall, being dropped from his £1million WeBuyAnyCar contract following queue gate.

One source told The Sun: ‘Holly’s star has been shining brighter for some time and it’s not going anywhere. Phil’s departure only cements that.’

Mr Schofield is understood to have fled on holiday to Cornwall to visit his mother following his dramatic statement yesterday.

He left the show after frantic meetings with his representatives and ITV’s most senior chiefs.

It is not clear exactly who will present the show tomorrow – but it will be someone from the This Morning team.

Mr Schofield has been described was a ‘broken man’ as he continued to dig his heels into stay at the show right up until the end.

It was said to have taken ‘much persuasion’ for him to agree to terminate his contract immediately.

It means that last Thursday was Mr Schofield’s final appearance on This Morning.

While Ms Willoughby signed off with a cheery ‘see you Monday’, Mr Schofield said a simple ‘bye’.

The pair were the one-time king and queen of daytime television. Their reign on This Morning began in 2009

The pair both commented on Schofield’s departure from the show, with Holly Willoughby saying: ‘The sofa won’t be the same without him’

During his statement announcing his departure, Mr Schofield made no mention of Ms Willoughby while she thanked him for ‘all his knowledge, his experience, his humour’

An insider told The Sun: ‘ITV bosses had to choose which horse to back – Phil or Holly. And it was clear where their loyalties lay.’

In his statement Mr Schofield said: ‘I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning. But recently, This Morning itself has become the story.

‘Throughout my career in TV – including the very difficult last few days – I have always done my best to be honourable and kind.

‘I understand that ITV has decided the current situation can’t go on, and I want to do what I can to protect the show that I love.

‘So I have agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect, in the hope that the show can move forward to a bright future.

‘I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me – especially This Morning’s amazing viewers.’ He made no mention of Ms Willoughby.

Ms Willoughby said: ‘It’s been over 13 great years presenting This Morning with Phil and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour. The sofa won’t feel the same without him.’ 

The decision was made late on Friday after days of crisis meetings at ITV. It was decided that the announcement would be made yesterday to give Schofield time to leave his West London home to go away on a break and escape the limelight.

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