Phillip Schofield received just a 30-second tribute at the start of This Morning today as Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary stepped in after he was axed after 21 years and Holly Willoughby went on holiday early.
The new era also began by removing Mr Schofield from the show’s credits – less than 48 hours after he left the show amid reports of a rift with his co-star.
Alison and Dermot began the show by briefly addressing his exit, but there was no montage, just a single photo of Phil on screen and around half a minute of warm words.
Opening the broadcast, Hammond said: ‘We can’t start today’s show without paying tribute to the man who spent the last two decades sitting on the This Morning sofa. Phillip Schofield.’
O’Leary added: ‘So as a show, everyone on and off screen at ITV and This Morning on say a huge thank you to Phil for what he’s done to make the show such a success over the last 21 years.’
Hammond continued: ‘Quite simply, we all know he’s one of the best live television broadcasters this country has ever had, and we and all the team wish him all the best for the future.’
One tweeted: ‘That was short, 21 years in less than a minute,’ while another declared: ‘turned on just to see the most insincere tribute and send off ever and l am now switching permanently to another daytime programme.’
Viewers also noticed that the show’s titles no longer contained him. Holly was also missing from them today. One said: ‘They didn’t waste time changing the opening credits’. Another added: ‘Opening credits already changed and a quick mention of his name then swiftly moved on lol, what a tribute’.
Moving swiftly on! Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary paid a 30 second tribute to Phillip Schofield on This Morning after he was axed… but some fans questioned the brevity of the announcement
Tension: The TV presenter, 61, bowed out of the show following reports of a feud with his co-host Holly Willoughby
Former This Morning presenter Phillip Schofield is said to be ‘completely broken’ by his brutal ITV axing (pictured with his mother, Pat, on Sunday)
Alison and Dermot, who co-host the show on Fridays, will be on the sofa in their absence on Monday morning and are hot contenders to take over Phil’s role permanently given their experience.
However, ITV have not yet confirmed a permanent replacement nor who will host for the rest of the week.
Alison, 48, is currently the bookmaker Ladbrokes favourite to take on the role, giving her 2/1 odds.
Phillip Schofield announced on Saturday he would be stepping down from hosting This Morning after 21 years amid his alleged feud with Holly Willoughby.
He said in his statement: ‘I have always been proud to cover fascinating stories on This Morning. But recently, This Morning itself has become the story.
‘Throughout my career in TV – including the very difficult last few days – I have always done my best to be honourable and kind.’
Holly said: ‘It’s been over 13 great years presenting This Morning with Phil and I want to take this opportunity to thank him for all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour. The sofa won’t feel the same without him.’
Kevin Lygo, ITV’s managing director of media and entertainment, said: ‘Phillip is hands down one of the best broadcasters of his generation and we thank him for his two decades worth of absolutely terrific television on the This Morning sofa.
‘This Morning is made by one of the best and most diligent teams in television, who produce over 12 hours of live television each week.
‘We look forward to continuing our relationship with Phillip starting with The British Soap Awards in June and a brand new peak time series to come.’
Brutal: Fans were shocked at the short tribute given to Phil and branded it ‘very awkward’
Shock exit: Phillip, 61, announced on Saturday he would be stepping down from hosting This Morning after 21 years amid his alleged feud with Holly
End of the road: On Friday, Holly said ‘see you Monday’ as the show ended while Phil simply told viewers: ‘Bye!’
Holly and Phil have called a truce in a private chat, with Phil agreeing to leave the show in a deal which will ensure he gets a new solo-presenting gig – and can keep discussions open about his future on other shows such as Dancing On Ice.
Pictured after his statement on Saturday, the veteran presenter looked tired and serious as he sat with his mother in the front of the vehicle, appearing to be conducting tense phone conversations.
Being photographed after what is now known to have been his final show, Phil spent two hours in the vehicle with his 85-year-old mother in a car park in Cornwall on the day his fate was published by the channel.
He was pictured vaping and staring out at the sea as his body language appeared dejected.
Phil now has just ‘tatters’ of his friendship with Willoughby left after he failed to tell her about his brother’s child sexual abuse case.
An ITV source told the Mirror last night: ‘Phil’s fate was decided on Friday. It was a unanimous decision that he had to go.
‘He was upset, but firm that if he was going to walk away he wanted to keep his roles on The Cube, the British Soap Awards, and Dancing on Ice – crucially, with or without Holly.
‘It has all been worked out in the smoothest way possible, but behind the scenes he has told friends he has been hung out to dry. And his friendship with Holly is now in tatters.
‘It is hard to see how it could recover. The fact he chose to pointedly thank people who supported him – and the viewers – without mentioning her says it all.’
History: The presenting duo (pictured in November 2009) had worked together for more than a decade after Holly took over from Fern Britton as Phillip’s co-host back in 2009
The once inseparable pair had increasingly grown apart in recent months, but the split became final after Phil kept Holly, 42, in the dark about his brother’s child sex abuse trial.
Phillip left the show after frantic meetings with his representatives and ITV’s most senior chiefs. They agreed a trade-off in which he was promised he would be able to host a new show solo and that conversations around existing shows would continue, The Mirror reported.
He issued a pointed statement on social media thanking fans for their support, but failed to mention Holly at all.
It is understood that Phil, who was described as ‘a broken man’, was digging his heels in to stay right up until the end, and that it took ‘much persuasion’ for him to agree to terminate his contract immediately. It means last Thursday was his final appearance on This Morning.
An insider told The Sun: ‘ITV bosses had to choose which horse to back – Phil or Holly. And it was clear where their loyalties lay.’
They added: ‘Holly is the real winner in all of this as she has emerged victorious and classy.’
As well as losing his job, he is said to be distraught over his former community police officer brother Timothy’s 11 convictions on child sex charges. His brother was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Friday.
It can also be revealed there was much wrangling over what the exit strategy would be, whether he went immediately or hung on until the summer break and quietly did not return.
Holly, who has found it hard sitting next to him of late, hoped the situation would be dealt with sooner rather than later.
Tense: Sources say it is hard to see how the pair’s friendship could ever recover from the row
The pair both commented on Phil’s departure from the show, with Holly Willoughby saying: ‘The sofa won’t be the same without him’
It comes after weeks of fallout between the one-time king and queen of daytime television. Holly, described as ‘quietly shrewd’ by those who know her, is believed to have told ITV she could no longer share a sofa with him, while making it clear she wants to stay.
One source said: ‘It was basically an ultimatum, Holly won the war. We say what Holly wants, Holly gets, and never was a truer word spoken.’
Holly also has the full support of Martin Frizell, This Morning’s veteran editor.
Phil, though, had the support of Frizell’s boss, ITV’s head of daytime Emma Gormley.
Insiders cite Phil and Ms Gormley as the ‘losers’ in this.