The 61-year-old announced his exit from the popular ITV morning show “with immediate effect” on Saturday (20 May) after weeks of rumours of a rift with his main co-host, Holly Willoughby.
On Monday’s edition (22 May) of the programme, Hammond and O’Leary began by acknowledging their former colleague’s exit.
“We can’t start without paying tribute to the man who spent the last two decades sitting on the This Morning sofa, Phillip Schofield,” Hammond explained.
“The show, everyone on and off-screen at ITV and This Morning want to say a huge thank you to Phil for what he’s done to make the show such a success over the last 21 years.
“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.”
O’Leary then clarified that Willoughby, who most frequently hosted with Schofield, was currently on a break ahead of the school half-term and would return to the show on Monday 5 June.
During the brief tribute, the programme displayed photos of Schofield, alone, at work over the years.
Willoughby is said to have given ITV an ultimatum before her former presenting partner’s departure was announced.
“Holly made it clear it was her or Phil but he refused to go until he was given something else concrete that he could announce,” an executive told The Times.
In a statement after the news broke on Saturday (20 May), Willoughby thanked Schofield for “all of his knowledge, his experience and his humour.”
She added: “The sofa won’t feel the same without him.”