Could Dermot O’Leary be the man to save The X Factor?
ITV bosses have reportedly approached the former presenter about possibly returning to the show which he left last year.
They have made quiet overtures to O’Leary’s agent John Noel, according to The Sun, in a move which could potentially signal the end for presenting duo Olly Murs and Caroline Flack after just one year.
“There has been a quiet approach via his management company,” the paper reported.
“He’s got more offers than he has ever had in his career at the moment, but he isn’t on an exclusive contract with the BBC and would definitely love to work with ITV. For him the decision will probably come down to balance.
“A show like The X Factor is a massive commitment and he wants to be able to continue making documentaries about more serious subjects as well.”
Since leaving the show O’Leary has fronted successful new BBC Saturday night show The Getaway Car while Murs and Flack were also criticised by some viewers after making a handful of on air-blunders in the last series.
O’Leary has also been mildly critical of The X Factor, telling Radio Times last month: “If I was Simon I’d take [The X Factor] off air for a year. I’d rest it, and then I’d get back to the rooms. For me it was always room [auditions], arena, boot camp.”
New ITV programmes boss Kevin Lygo is said by sources to be keen to revive the fortunes of The X Factor which lost out to Strictly Come Dancing in the ratings battle last year. ITV’s X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent contract with Simon Cowell’s Syco expire this year and both parties are thought to be in the early stages of renegotiation.
There have been persistent rumours that ITV may want to rest The X Factor for at least a year. However ITV has publicly insisted that it intends to renew the contacts for both The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.
The future direction of both shows have been thrown into doubt by the arrival in early 2017 of The Voice which ITV poached from the BBC and which it expects to air in January next year.
The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent have been in a current three-year deal with the commercial broadcaster and have been mainstays of the ITV schedules since 2004 and 2007 respectively.
RadioTimes.com reported last week that a new ‘bundle’ deal for both shows is likely to be announced by the time Britain’s Got Talent comes back on air this April.