No sooner had it been confirmed The Voice was moving from BBC to ITV in 2017 talk turned to former X Factor frontman Dermot O’Leary taking over as host.
Arguing the commercial broadcaster would want to put its own stamp on the show by drafting in a replacement for current co-hosts Emma Willis and Marvin Humes, reports suggested O’Leary was “first in line”. “Dermot is hugely popular with viewers and knows exactly what he’s doing – there’s no better choice for a host,” an insider told The Mirror.
But as far as O’Leary himself is concerned, it’s not among the new projects in his calendar, which includes upcoming The Getaway Car on the Beeb.
“I think I’m done now,” O’Leary told RadioTimes.com, stepping down from Simon Cowell’s reality juggernaut ahead of the 2015 run. “I think it would look weird for me. It wouldn’t feel like a step forward for me to do The Voice. Not because it’s not a great show, but because I’ve just done a singing show for eight years.”
“I’m sure it will do really well on ITV, it did well on BBC really. It might not have found a star, but in terms of ratings it did really well.”
“I didn’t have a problem with it being on BBC,” the presenter continued, alluding to the 2015 Green Paper, overseen by Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, which questioned whether the BBC behaves in an overly commercial way with its big-budget entertainment formats.
The Voice’s move to ITV soon followed, with BBC’s acting director of television Mark Linsey confirming in November that it would not be keeping the format beyond 2016 after refusing to “pay inflated prices” for the show.
“We always said we wouldn’t get into a bidding war or pay inflated prices to keep the show,” he said. “And it’s testament to how the BBC has built the programme up – and established it into a mainstay of the Saturday night schedule – that another broadcaster has poached it.”
But O’Leary had no issue with the show where it was.
“If it’s popular and people are watching it, then people are paying their licence fee to watch a popular show,” O’Leary explained. “I don’t have a problem with that. I think it’s good. Even though it didn’t find a star, it entertained people.
“But personally, I’ve done eight years on The X Factor, so I’m not looking to do another show like that. That’s why I left,” he added.
As The Voice kicks off its fifth and final run on the BBC, the current hosts have spoken openly of their desire to stick with the show when it moves.
“I love working with Em, we’ve had a great three years together, I love working on the show so course I’d love to stay on the show,” Humes told RadioTimes.com.
“Change is inevitable,” he added. “This show has changed every series, be it coaches or presenters. So, if we were not to come back for series six on ITV then we’ve had a great three years, I’ve loved working with Em and I get that change has to happen. But of course I’d love to stay on the show, so we’ll wait and see.”
“Ditto,” Willis concurred.
The Voice continues Saturdays on BBC1. O’Leary returns to host this year’s National Television Awards on Wednesday 20th January on ITV.