Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary welcome new This Morning hosts to the ‘family’

Alison Hammond and Dermot O’Leary have welcomed Ben Shephard and Cat Deeley to the This Morning “family”.

On Friday it was confirmed the duo will be taking over as the new regular hosts of the ITV daytime show from next month, following the departure of Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby from the roles last year.

Shephard, 49, and Deeley, 47, will helm the show from Monday to Thursday, while Hammond and O’Leary will present on Fridays.

Ahead of Friday’s episode of This Morning, an announcement video was aired which Shephard walking down the production corridor of the ITV show and placing a new photo of Deeley on the wall, before turning to the camera to say: “See you soon.”

Deeley’s photo then became animated as she winked to viewers.

Opening the show, O’Leary said: “Welcome to your Friday’s This Morning, and Ben and Cat…” before Hammond joined him to say: “Welcome to the family.”

Hammond, 49, added: “We’re so, so happy. The news is finally out.”

The Shooting Star Ball – London
Ben Shephard (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He also recalled how he started out his career with Shephard on the former Channel 4 slot T4 and shared with viewers a picture of him, Shephard and fellow host Andi Peters from their younger days, joking: “That’s actually from last week, that’s quite embarrassing.”

Hammond also hailed Deeley as a “dream” as she explained they bonded over both growing up in Birmingham when they first met in Los Angeles around four years ago.

“We went to a party and it was the first time these two Brummies collided, we’ve never separated,” she recalled.

Film Is Great reception – Los Angeles
Cat Deeley (Ian West/PA)

“Ben and Cat, this is going to be great isn’t it?” to which O’Leary agreed, saying: “It’s going to be nice.”

Schofield left the popular ITV daytime show in May after he admitted to an “unwise but not illegal” past relationship with a younger male former colleague, with Willoughby leaving in October after 14 years.

Since then the show has had a rotation of presenters, including Deeley and Shephard on separate occasions.

Josie Gibson, Craig Doyle, Rylan Clark and Emma Willis have also all stepped in to front the show.

Shephard has become a familiar face for ITV viewers as he has been co-hosting the breakfast show Good Morning Britain since 2014.

Last year Deeley presented This Morning for three days alongside Clark and Doyle.

She has previously hosted ITV’s Stars In Their Eyes and the BBC’s Fame Academy, and hosted American contest So You Think You Can Dance for more than a decade.

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