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Phillip Schofield is already being tipped to make a sensational return to broadcasting in 2024 after ITV officially ‘drew a line in the sand’ over his exit from This Morning – giving him a ‘fresh chance’, MailOnline can reveal today.
The star is being tipped for a job on national radio – his ‘first love’ – with Britain’s largest commercial stations said to be jostling to bring him in to woo new listeners from rivals, including BBC Radio 2.
Yesterday ITV’s report has cleared bosses of a cover-up and uncovered no further damaging claims about Mr Schofield’s relationship with a young runner on the show.
Despite claims of a ‘whitewash’, industry insiders told MailOnline today that it opens the door to the 61-year-old getting a new big-money deal to return to work next year. But a senior British broadcasting source said a return to TV for Mr Schofield is ‘unlikely – for now’.
He said: ‘Now that a line has been drawn in the sand by ITV over the Schofield saga, attention will move on.
‘Within a period of time there is now a place for Phillip to return, possibly not on TV yet, but there are now a myriad of opportunities for him on commercial radio where he will be offered big money to return to his first love.
‘The KC’s report gives him a fresh chance – but nobody will be surprised at all to see that ITV has found itself in the clear as it tries to save This Morning’.
Schofield and Willoughby are pictured either side of the man with whom he had an affair
Mr Schofield was out and about in West London yesterday with a return to radio tipped
Phillip has been supported by his family throughout – pictured with his wife Stephanie and eldest daughter Molly
Mr Schofield quit This Morning after he admitted to a past relationship with a younger male former colleague – but neither men spoke to Jane Mulcahy KC, whose report came out yesterday.
Ms Mulcahy found that the unnamed runner’s promotion from This Morning to Loose Women ‘had nothing to do’ with Mr Schofield and claimed that also ‘only one person’ interviewed had knowledge of the affair but ‘did not report their knowledge at time’.
Phillip Schofield started out in local radio in New Zealand as a teenager before joining the BBC, hosting a popular show on Radio 1 while presenting Going Live.
It now remains to be seen whether Britain’s most popular stations, such as Classic FM, Magic, Virgin, Heart or other giants now swoop. Greatest Hits Radio has also been on a hiring spree, grabbing big names such as Ken Bruce and Simon Mayo to take listeners from BBC Radio 2.
But sources have said Mr Schofield could soon be back in work.
Furious ITV staff have blasted an external report into Phillip Schofield’s affair with a younger colleague as a ‘whitewash’.
Bosses at the broadcaster published the much anticipated review into the scandal and the toxic working culture at This Morning.
One employee told the Mail of their ‘sheer bewilderment’ that only one junior worker was aware of the relationship.
The report found that ITV did not cover-up the relationship and that station bosses had made ‘considerable efforts’ to discover the truth in 2019 – four years before the affair broke.
Furious ITV staff have blasted an external report into Phillip Schofield ‘s affair with a younger colleague as a ‘whitewash’. Pictured: Schofield and Holly Willoughby on This Morning
The external review found that the channel was ‘unable to uncover the relevant evidence’ until Schofield’s own admission in May when he told the Mail that he had been having the relationship and later lied about it.
ITV bosses have said both Schofield and his former lover, a runner who has never been named, ‘repeatedly denied’ allegations of a relationship until the star dramatically quit ITV and formally apologised.
It added that only one person out of 48 interviewed – a junior employee – said they knew about the presenter’s relationship with a younger male former colleague before he revealed it in May.
Ms Mulcahy revealed that Schofield refused to take part in the review into the circumstances surrounding the his departure because of ‘the risk to his health’. She added that she was informed that the host’s mental health had since deteriorated.
Schofield’s former colleague and lover also declined to participate in the report.
However, staff at ITV have been left cross, accusing the report of being a ‘waste of time’.
The findings did reveal that there was a culture of silence at the channel, saying that junior employees at ITV’s This Morning still fear that speaking out will damage their careers in the industry.
One staff member told the Mail: ‘There’s a chasm between this report and reality. What’s clear is that ITV will need more than policies and procedures to address its culture of silence.’
Sources at ITV say that they have ‘full confidence’ in This Morning editor Martin Frizell and its head of daytime, Emma Gormley.
There have been calls for chief executive Dame Carolyn McCall and her number two Kevin Lygo to be sacked, though insiders now think that their jobs will also be safe.
In May Schofield, 61, admitted to having a relationship with a much younger man who worked with him on This Morning, and later lying about it.
In a bombshell statement to the Daily Mail, the veteran TV presenter admitted that he and the man began a relationship that was more than a friendship. The ex-TV presenter describes this as ‘unwise but not illegal’.
Schofield admitted the relationship with a younger male colleague (pictured together)
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on the sofa on ITV’s This Morning on February 2
In his grovelling apology, Schofield said: ‘I am making this statement via the Daily Mail, to whom I have already apologised personally for misleading, through my lawyer who I also misled, about a story [sic] which they wanted to write about me a few days ago.
‘The first thing I want to say is: I am deeply sorry for having lied to them, and to many others about a relationship that I had with someone working on This Morning. I did have a consensual on-off relationship with a younger male colleague at This Morning.
‘Contrary to speculation, whilst I met the man when he was a teenager and was asked to help him to get into television, it was only after he started to work on the show that it became more than a just a friendship. That relationship was unwise, but not illegal. It is now over…
‘I am painfully conscious that I have lied to my employers at ITV, to my colleagues and friends, to my agents, to the media and therefore the public and most importantly of all to my family. I am so very, very sorry, as I am for having been unfaithful to my wife…
‘I am resigning from ITV with immediate effect, expressing my immense gratitude to them for all the amazing opportunities that they have given me.
‘I will reflect on my very bad judgement in both participating in the relationship and then lying about it.’