This Morning has begun life without veteran host Phillip Schofield after more than two decades, with Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary hosting the first program since he announced his departure – amid reports of a rift with long-term co-host Holly Willoughby.
Today, on This Morning, Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary paid tribute to Phillip Schofield, the first program since his departure after more than two decades.
O’Leary added, “Everyone at ITV and This Morning would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Phil for his contributions to the show’s success over the past 21 years.”
Hammond continued, “Quite simply, we all recognize that he is one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had, and we and the entire team wish him the best of luck in the future.”
Schofield, who joined the show in 2002, stated on Saturday that he was leaving because the program had “become the story” and he wanted to “protect the show I love.”
It followed reports that his relationship with co-host Holly Willoughby, who will remain on the show but is presently on early half-term leave, had deteriorated.
Hammond, 48, and O’Leary, 49, currently co-host the program every Friday and are the frontrunners to replace Schofield, though ITV has not yet determined who will receive the role permanently.
Other finalists include Rochelle Humes of The Saturdays and her husband, JLS star Marvin Humes, as well as This Morning regulars Rylan Clark, Josie Gibson, and Gino D’Acampo.
How did Schofield respond?
Schofield, 61, announced his departure over the weekend after presenting his last program on Thursday.
“I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning,” he said in a statement. “However, This Morning has recently become the topic.
“Throughout my entire tenure in television, including the very difficult final days, I have endeavored to be honorable and kind.
“I understand that ITV has decided that the current situation cannot continue, and I want to do everything I can to protect my favorite show.”
Shortly thereafter, Willoughby released her statement, stating, “It’s been over 13 wonderful years co-hosting This Morning with Phil, and I’d like to appreciate him for all of his knowledge, experience, and sense of humor.
This couch will not be the same without him.
Willoughby will return to the studio on Monday, 5 June.
Previously, the duo has been outspoken about their close friendship over the years, including posting pictures of family vacations on social media.
ITV will continue to employ Schofield
Kevin Lygo, ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment, stated that despite Schofield’s departure from This Morning, ITV will continue its relationship with him “beginning with The British Soap Awards in June and a brand new peak time series to come.”
Schofield has had a difficult few months, what with his brother’s trial for sex abuse, criticism over his visit to the late Queen’s lying-in-state, and his rumored feud with Willoughby.
Timothy Schofield, a 54-year-old former civilian police officer, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Friday after being found guilty of 11 sexual offenses involving a minor between October 2016 and October 2019, including two counts of sexual activity with a child.