Holly Willoughby gets what she wants as Phillip Schofield is ousted from the ... trends now
The veteran presenter finally agreed to the network's ultimatum that he quit after 21 years hosting the daytime programme amid a fallout with his co-star and former close friend.
Schofield, 61 – who was understood to have fled on holiday yesterday – alluded to the feud in ITV's statement, issued without warning at 3pm.
The once inseparable pair had increasingly grown apart in recent months, but the split became final after Mr Schofield failed to tell Ms Willoughby, 42, about his brother's child sex trial.
The shock announcement came days after frantic meetings between Schofield, his representatives and ITV's most senior chiefs amid the row between the presenters.
Phillip Schofield was yesterday sensationally ousted from This Morning after co-star Holly Willoughby told ITV bosses she no longer wanted to work with him
Former close friends Schofield and Willoughby, pictured together on Dancing on Ice in 2006, had increasingly grown apart in recent months
The pair were the one-time king and queen of daytime television. Their reign on This Morning began in 2009
It is not clear exactly who will co-present with Ms Willoughby tomorrow – but it will be someone from the This Morning team.
It is understood that Schofield, 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.
Mr Schofield said: '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.
'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 that 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.' He made no mention of Ms Willoughby.
The decision was made late on Friday after days of crisis meetings at ITV. It was decided that the announcement would be made yesterday to give Schofield time to leave his West London home to go away on a break and escape the limelight.
Thursday's ITV show, which Holly closed by saying 'See you Monday!', while Phil simply said 'Bye', prompted viewers to speculate that he knew it would be his last time on the This Morning sofa
The pair both commented on Schofield's departure from the show, with Holly Willoughby