Holly Willoughby pushing for new contract amid Phillip Schofield feud

Holly Willoughby is keen to secure her This Morning future with a new contract as doubts grow over the future of co-host Phillip Schofield, a source has said.

The 42-year-old Willoughby is said to have piled pressure on ITV bosses to begin contract negotiations, just months after her own position on the show appeared to be hanging in the balance.

A reported rift between the presenters has been rumbling on but Holly is said to be keen to ensure any split from her own-screen partner results in the departure of 61-year-old Phil rather than her.

READ MORE: Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield 'cancel annual trip' as he speaks out on 'feud'

She is now said to have asked her team to reach out in a bid to speed up a decision about the hit show’s future line-up.

Rumours have circulated that Phil's 21-year stint on the show could be over in a matter of weeks following a dramatic drop in his stock with the broadcaster.

Sources revealed Phil has fallen from grace after years of behind-the-scenes tension and he is even jokingly nicknamed The Grim Reaper.

A source said last night: “Holly was considering her position on the show earlier this year, as she couldn’t see Phil being ousted.

“But that is now a real possibility and she wants to see a decision made on both of their futures quickly.

“That is what is behind Holly asking her team to reach out to ITV – she is trying to move things forward.

“There has been no bloodbath meeting yet, but that could well be to come. The sooner it happens, the sooner she can rebrand herself.”

It is understood Holly now sees her distance from Phil as an opportunity to rebrand herself as a “woman’s woman” fronting the show with Alison Hammond – as she did during Phil’s absence from the sofa last month.

Holly has recently welcomed Alison into her friendship circle, posting snaps of her among other pals at a girls’ night.

She also shared a series of images of the pair hosting together, one with the caption: “Love you @alisonhammond55 Same time tomorrow?” Another snap was posted with a love heart emoji.

Meanwhile, insiders told how Phil’s exit from the sofa would also be welcomed by some staff.

One said: “Phil has been seen as untouchable for years, which has also given him an unprecedented level of control.

“He is nicknamed The Grim Reaper by some people who don’t get on with him.

“He is obviously very passionate about the show, but the way he goes about exercising his influence has made him very unpopular with some.”

Phil this week made the first public statement about the alleged rift.

He called Holly his “rock” but admitted recent weeks “haven’t been easy for either of us”.

It is understood Phil – who appeared awkward alongside Holly on the sofa this week – will return on Monday.

But ITV sources last night had still not confirmed his appearance.

Phil has hosted This Morning since 2002 and with Holly since 2009.

He took leave last month as his brother Timothy went on trial.

The 54-year-old was convicted of 11 sexual offences involving a child.

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