Dec made a tearful thank you to his team after the weekend's Saturday Night Takeaway.
ITV responded by taking Saturday Night Takeaway off air for a week, but on Saturday it returned with just Dec at the helm.
Dec's first solo TV outing proved rather emotional both on and off screen.
Following the episode, which was watched by just under 8 million viewers, Dec gave a speech backstage.
"It’s been the weirdest, weirdest show. But I wanted to say a huge, huge thank you to lots of people here," he said. “Most of all I just wanted to thank you guys."
Dec continued (via The Sun): “That reception when I came down the stairs... I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do or how you were going to react... but you carried me all the way through the show.
“I couldn’t have done it without you guys."
Thanking everyone and inviting them to a drink in the bar, Dec finally quipped: "I’ve talked quite enough this evening — enough talking for two."
On the show, Dec did not directly address Ant's absence at the start of the show, but thanked the audience for their loud applause, saying: "I really appreciate it."
Dec instead kept the atmosphere upbeat, joking: "This week we've got lots to cram in. I've got twice the amount of work to do!"
Dec will return for the final of Saturday Night Takeaway this weekend, which will air live from Florida.
It's also expected that Dec will front the Britain's Got Talent live shows alone later in the year.