This Morning’s stars break silence on Ben and Cat’s new job – but Holly Willoughby stays quiet


CAT Deeley and Ben Shepard have now officially been unveiled as the new stars of ITV’s This Morning.

But while a slew of big names rushed to congratulation the pair, former host, Holly Willoughby, 43, has chosen to remain silent.

With her good looks and likeable manner, Cat Deeley was the obvious choice for Holly’s replacement

Ben Shephard has quietly won over a legion of fans on screen and off with his longstanding role on GMB

The news was confirmed following months of speculation, via a filmed promo on This Mornings social media pages, showing Ben Shepherd walking the famous ITV corridor and placing a picture on the wall of his new co-star Cat. Before turning to the camera and saying “See you soon.”

No sooner had it gone live, but the shows other co-presenters, including Rochelle Humes, Craig Doyle and Alison Hammond came in with a show of support.

Craig Doyle said: “Congratulations guys, did someone say drinks?”

Alison Hammond wrote: “So excited about this.”

Josie Gibson said: “I feel a welcome work party coming on.”

While Rochelle Hume just said: “Eeeek, with the raised hand emoji.”

A host of other celebrities also shared good wishes including veteran presenter Zoe Ball and pop performer Louise Redknapp, 49, but there was one notable absence. That of the recently departed host, Holly Willoughby.

Holly left the show in October last year ‘for the sake of her family’ after  being left shaken when she discovered that she was the target of a foiled kidnap and murder plot.

Her exit came just five months after Phillip Schofield left the show when his affair with a young male colleague was exposed, amid claims of an increasingly frosty relationship with his co-host.

But Holly has been generally absent from social media, appearing only to post pictures of her ballgowns, after she returned to ITV to present Dancing on Ice alongside Stephen Mulhern last month.

Since then Alison Hammond 49, and Dermot O’Leary 50 have held the fought while ITV bosses sought to find their replacements.

Indeed Cat, 47 and Ben, 49, who has been a long term presenter on Good Morning Britain, have been locked in talks for many months over the contract.

Initially Cat, who made a name for herself in the US as the presenter of talent show, So You Can Think You can Dance, was angling to combine a job on This Morning with her lucrative American role.

But now it turns out that she will be based in the UK for good, after ITV made her an offer she couldn’t refuse: an annual salary of a reported, £550 k.

At the time it was alleged that Cat had wanted Rylan Clark as co-host instead of Ben and had also wanted time off to continue her £344 K season role on the US dance show.

But sources said: “Cat will not get any special treatment. She will absolutely not be given time off to film the next series of ‘SYTYCD. So she has to make that decision, its one of the other, end of.”

Meanwhile Ben who joined GMB back in 2014 has become one of ITV’s best loved stars for boyish good looks and easy going charm.

He said: ‘This really feels like a very special moment for Cat and I to be part of the next chapter of This Morning. It’s an honour to be trusted with the reigns, join Alison and Dermot and all the team that work on and off screen and do such a great job.

Cat, who is excited by her return to prime time television said: ‘This Morning is a national institution. Whenever it’s on, it’s like having your friends over – funny, smart, silly, heartfelt, informative and joyful – like all the greatest friendships!…

‘This Morning is and always will be the viewer’s show. Ben and I both know how much people love it, and with the help of an amazing team of people, we’re going to do our best to take care of it.’

Married to presenter Patrick Kielty with whom she has two young sons, Cat made her name in the 90s as the star host of SMTV Live alongside Ant and Dec, for which is won a BAFTA TV award, as well as hosting the spin off chart show: CD UK.

She crossed the pond and became a household name in the US as the presenter of the talent show, So You Think You can Dance, which she has hosted since 2006.

Dynamic duo: the new stars of the show, can they save This Morning from its scandal ridden past?

Holly and Phil in happier times on This Morning, for many years the pair were untouchable
Cat and Ben will begin their tenure in March, as fans eagerly await their start date