McPartlin appeared in the auditions phase of BGT 2018 as they were pre-recorded earlier this year, but missed out on the live shows after entering rehab in the wake of his arrest and subsequent conviction for drink driving back in March, leaving his longtime partner Declan Donnelly to present on his own.
However, Cowell says he is “almost certain” the presenting duo will be back on screen together when the show returns in 2019.
“He’s not a bad person, he’s not the only person these things happen to,” he said according to The Mirror. “He’s in the public eye. It’s a wake-up call. It’s as simple as that.
He continued: “He’s taken a step back because his health is way more important than a TV show. I’m almost certain he’ll be back next year. And we want him back.”
Cowell also vowed that he and Britain’s Got Talent would support Ant upon his return: “Maybe the pressure was more than I realised. I will support Ant when he comes back.”
Britain’s Got Talent 2018 finished on Sunday night, with Lost Voice Guy Lee Ridley – who performs with a speech synthesiser after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was six months old – winning the public vote to be crowned champion.
Cowell praised Dec for his work hosting the show on his own: “Dec has been unbelievable. I have tremendous respect for him. He’s been a revelation.”