ALISON Hammond and Dermot O’Leary ignored Phillip Schofield’s shock exit from This Morning as they replaced him and Holly Willoughby today.
The TV stars, who have both been tipped to permanently replace Phil and become Holly’s new co-host on the show, looked oddly reserved as they spoke to channel stablemate Lorraine Kelly moments before the start of the show.
And they conveniently swerved the turmoil behind the scenes, which has seen its longstanding presenting partnership ended with immediate effect.
Mainstay Holly is now on holiday for two weeks and will return on June 5.
Overnight we revealed Phillip is “completely broken” by his sacking from This Morning.
He will get six months’ wages to soften the blow after ITV decided his feud with Holly Willoughby was losing too many viewers.
A source said: “Phil has been given his This Morning wages for six months — but if that was meant to make him feel better, it’s just not working.
“Phil feels he has been shown zero respect and he is devastated by how this has played out.
“He thinks the way he was forced to step down was so unjust and he feels completely broken by how this situation has been handled.
“This Morning was Phil’s life and now he feels he has been knifed without proper consultation.
“Phil consulted his mum Pat and his ex-wife Stephanie before agreeing to step back.
“He is incredibly close to them both and wanted to gauge their thoughts.
“Phil also spoke with his daughters, Molly — who is a talent agent at his management company YMU — and Ruby.
“It was only after they’d had these discussions that Phil said he would agree to leave.
“Phil has dedicated over 20 years to that show and for it all to end this way has been incredibly upsetting for him.”
The Sun revealed Phil was told he had lost his job on This Morning just minutes after coming off air on Thursday.
Top brass at ITV decided the situation between him and co-host Holly, 42, had become unworkable, with the obvious tension between the pair costing the show almost 200,000 viewers.
Holly, who has worked on This Morning with Phil for 13 years, will stay on as the main presenter and is returning to the show on June 5 after a two-week break.
ITV has confirmed that Monday’s episode will be hosted by Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary.
After learning his fate on Thursday Phil fled to Cornwall to be with mum Pat, 85.
He looked tense on a drive out with her on Saturday afternoon — shortly after news of his departure was announced.
Onlookers said Phil spent up to two hours gazing out to sea while vaping and chatting to his mum.
After the news of his departure was made public by ITV, Phil issued an emotional statement.
However, his failed to mention Holly, confirming The Sun’s original story about the breakdown of their on-screen partnership, which has run for 17 years, including a stint on Dancing on Ice.
Their fall-out reportedly dates back three years to when Holly split from the YMU agency.
She later won a £1million payout from the business, of which Phil is still a shareholder.
Her career blossomed while his started to falter.
Nonetheless, he was thought to earn about £700,000 a year for This Morning, making his golden goodbye likely to be more than £300,000.
He will also continue to work for ITV, live-presenting the British Soap Awards on June 3, plus hosting a new peak-time series.
He wrote on Saturday: “I’ve 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.
“I understand that ITV has decided the current situation can’t go on, and I want to do what I can to protect the show that I love.
“So I have agreed to step down from This Morning with immediate effect, in the hope the show can move forward to a bright future.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me — especially This Morning’s amazing viewers — and I’ll see you all for the Soap Awards next month.”
Holly, who started on This Morning in 2009, posted on her Instagram: “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.”
ITV boss Kevin Lygo paid tribute to Phil when news of his departure was revealed.
He said: “Phillip is hands down one of the best broadcasters of his generation and we thank him for his two decades of 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.”
Despite the glowing send-off, those close to Phil said he is struggling to come to terms with the situation.
A source added: “Phil is feeling incredibly upset and is taking some time out to weigh up his options.
“He has privately been sent a number of messages of support from friends in the industry.
“It means a great deal to him that people are taking the time to reach out.”