Dermot O'Leary returns as host of The X Factor

(Image credit: PA WIRE)

Dermot O'Leary has returned as The X Factor host after a year away from the show.

He reportedly met X Factor boss Simon Cowell last week to seal the deal and replace Olly Murs and Caroline Flack, whose tenure as hosts was marked by falling ratings and on-air gaffs.

Now as part of revamp to the show he will return with bosses also bringing back the intimate audition room for the first round of try outs with the judges and no audience.

Dermot, whose new deal is believed to worth up to £1.5million, said: “I’m very flattered to be asked back to The X Factor, and am currently dusting off my dancing shoes. There is nothing more exciting than hosting live TV on a Saturday night.

“The show is naturally very close to my heart, after having hosted it for eight years. I’m really looking forward to it, and excited to be back.”

Dermot O'Leary at X Factor auditions in 2014

Dermot O’Leary at X Factor auditions in 2014 (Ian West/PA)

His replacements Olly Murs and Caroline Flack both stepped down earlier in February.

Singer Olly and TV presenter Caroline faced heavy criticism for their performance as co-hosts, and a spokesperson for the show  confirmed they will not return.

The insider continued: “Producers have realised you can’t take any risks with the presenter of the show.

“You need someone really good who can cope with live TV. It is a massive skill and there are not many people who have it."

Caroline Flack and Olly Murs.

Caroline Flack and Olly Murs (Peter Byrne/PA)


Simon said: “Dermot’s back! Hooray! And so is his dancing. Welcome home Dermot.”

Speaking in January, Dermot suggested The X Factor may need a rest, but also urged bosses to bring back the audition room for early performances.

He said in January: “If I was Simon I’d probably take it off air for a year. I’d rest it, and then I’d get back to the rooms.

Dermot O'Leary hosting the NTAs - and visiting Simon Cowell and the Britain's Got Talent presenting team

Dermot O’Leary hosting the NTAs – and visiting Simon Cowell and the Britain’s Got Talent presenting team (Ian West/PA)


Dermot fronted The X Factor for eight series, but during his year away from the show he did not hold back on criticism.

He has said that Simon should rest the show for a year – and ditch the brutal six-chair challenge.

While hosting the National Television Awards, he also praised The X Factor’s Saturday night ratings rival Strictly Come Dancing, calling it 'my new favourite show'.


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