The presenter left the show after six years last month, following a backlash against his rants about Meghan Markle.
Ofcom received more than 40,000 complaints about comments Morgan made about the Duchess of Sussex following her tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey – including that he “didn’t believe a word” she said about having suicidal thoughts during her time as a senior royal.
In Lygo’s first comments since Morgan quit, the ITV boss told Deadline: “He’s done a good innings for Piers. I’m amazed he lasted this long. Trust me, there were some other moments where I thought, ‘Oh, here we go.’”
He continued: “The last time I signed him was about a year-and-half ago, and I remember saying: ‘Well, we’ve had a great run haven’t we Piers? I can’t believe there’s ever going to be a moment where I present you with a carriage clock for long service, so let’s just keep it going for as long as we can.”
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He said that Morgan’s split with GMB was “amicable” and that the controversial presenter is welcome back on ITV, including to make future series of his interview programme Piers Morgan’s Life Stories.
“Half the world wanted Piers dead and half the world wanted a statue erected in his favour,” said Lygo. “You need to tread a diplomatic line. Piers felt he was doing the right thing, felt very strongly about it, and we just felt it wasn’t quite compatible with some of the things we’re involved with.”
Speaking about Morgan’s replacement on the show, he added: “Piers is a special thing. You can’t replace somebody like him. There is nobody like Piers, for good or bad. We have a roster of presenters, including Ben [Shephard], Susanna [Reid], Charlotte [Hawkins], and Kate [Garraway]. They’re all stepping up and doing a few more days than they would have done… We’ll mix and match until we feel what the right thing is to do. There isn’t a single person [who can replace him].”
Morgan recently wrote a Mail on Sunday article, discussing the circumstances under which he left GMB. He wrote: “Kevin Lygo, ITV’s Director of Television, who I’d spoken to several times since yesterday, rang to say we were now ‘on the cliff edge’ and either I apologised, or I would have to leave GMB.
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“I appreciated his directness – we’ve always had a very open, honest and humorous relationship – and said I’d call him back when I’d thought it over… Suddenly, I reached a moment of total gut clarity: f*** it, I wasn’t going to apologise for disbelieving Meghan Markle, because the truth is that I don’t believe Meghan Markle… I called Kevin back, said I wouldn’t be apologising, and we agreed I’d leave GMB with immediate effect.”
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