ITV boss Carolyn McCall has issued a staunch defence of This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, who were accused of jumping the queue to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin.
McCall became the first ITV head honcho to publicly intervene in the controversy at this afternoon’s RTS London, stating that she had text both presenters and “they’re not feeling great, it’s been hard.”
Willoughby and Schofield, two of ITV’s biggest presenting faces, were accused of skipping the queue to see the Queen’s lying-in-state prior to her funeral last week by huge swathes of the media. ITV has since dispelled the rumor via an on-record statement which said they were in fact recording a broadcast for This Morning. At times, the queue had been longer than 12 hours.
McCall blamed “minority shrillness that became very very loud and became a story” for the Willoughby/Schofield situation, which has dominated headlines.
“This does show you how things spread and it’s really horrible for them,” she added. “They are highly relevant, popular and mean very well, and I’m hoping it will just pass.”
Turning to other areas, McCall talked up soon-to-launch streamer ITVX and claimed it will have “more fresh content” than the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.
This, said McCall, is because the platform will combine linear shows with £160M ($172M) worth of additional content solely for the streamer, meaning there will be new shows each week.
“Everyone has heard of ITV but the issue for [ITVX predecessor] ITV Hub has been a lack of content,” she added. People would come for Love Island but not come back. That is set to change.”
With the cost-of-living situation getting worse and the pound crashing, McCall was studious about the impact on her business.
She did, however, state her surprise that outfits such as ITV are valued so much lower than companies riddled with debt, such as Netflix.
“Even though companies don’t make profit they are valued at 15 times ours,” she added. “People have been forecasting the value of linear declining for a long time and that is built into the market.”
Mahon was speaking at RTS London, an all-day event featuring the bosses of the major British broadcasters, production houses and Baz Luhrmann.