NATIONAL treasure Alison Hammond is set to replace Phillip Schofield for a week on This Morning in a “trial run” from Monday.
Fan favourite Alison, 48 has impressed ITV bosses hosting the show on Fridays with Dermot O’Leary.
Politicalite can reveal that top ITV telly bosses are now testing her as a potential successor to Phillip or Holly after Phillip fell out of favour with viewers over scandals and the queue gate row.
Alison, who was recently confirmed as the new Great British Bake Off host revealed on Fridays show: “And guess what? I’m going to be hosting; Monday 10 o’clock,” as Dermot gave her a congratulatory high five.
Last month it was revealed that Holly Willoughby was “ready to walk away from This Morning” – as fans campaign to “Free Holly” from Schofe and insiders tell Politicalite that Alison is a favourite to replace Schofield to keep Holly on the show.
A source said: “ITV bosses are clear they want Holly to return to This Morning next year,”
“But while a question mark hangs over her future, there have been conversations about who could step in if she decided to go.”
“Top of that list is Alison. She has gone from being seen as a safe pair of hands to a real asset to the channel.”
ALISON’S BLACKMAIL ORDEAL
ALISON Hammond has reportedly been the victim of a sinister blackmail plot and has called in the police.
The 48-year-old This Morning star who is replacing Phillip Schofield from Monday 27th March was reportedly threatened by a former male friend in an eight-month ordeal, which saw her pay him thousands in a bid to stop him spreading malicious lies about her.
She is also believed to have bought him a £5,000 BMW.
A close pal of Alison told Politicalite that Alison confided in them, saying: “I trusted this guy who, it turns out, was only interested in my money.
“I thought he valued our friendship. I now know he only wanted me to fund his life of luxury.
“Out of the blue he said he could tell lies to make people think less of me. It was alarming.
“I’m a very generous person and was happy to spend money on him. I wanted to help him.”
Alison, who found fame on Big Brother in 2002 reportedly finally went to the police this week after the man demanded £3,500 or else he would “ruin” her.
She told her pal: “He sent me a message stating that if I didn’t give him £3,500 he would ruin me.
“I was flabbergasted. I’m still in shock. To have a friend seeking to blackmail and extort me is just heartbreaking.
“I had to realise I’d reached the end and go to the police.
“Now, I’m genuinely scared of what this man might do to me now that I’ve stopped with the handouts and reported him.
“It’s terrifying. I trusted this man and our friendship. But it was all so he could use me for my money. Now I feel so stupid.
“It is as though a veil has been lifted from my eyes.”
This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV1 and ITVX.