Saturday 25 March 2017

Dermot O'Leary set to become highest paid TV presenter in UK with '€9.6 million X Factor deal'

Dermot O'Leary at X Factor auditions
Dermot O'Leary at X Factor auditions

Dermot O'Leary is to become the highest-paid presenter on British television after reportedly securing an £8 million, four-year deal with ITV to return as host of The X Factor.

The 43-year-old, who left the show in 2014 after seven years, will replace Olly Murs and Caroline Flack for the new series, which returns next month.

"This is the comeback of all comebacks for Dermot," a source told The Sun. "Just one year after [Simon] Cowell axed him, he's signing the contract of a lifetime.

"It's completely unheard of for one presenter to be paid £8 million to host one show. There hasn't been a deal like it since Jonathan Ross was getting millions a year from the BBC to host his chat show.

"The X Factor just didn't work without Dermot. Getting him to come back was absolutely essential for its future."

It is understood that new ITV boss Kevin Lygo only agreed to continue broadcasting The X Factor until at least 2020 after O'Leary signed on the dotted line.

In a recent interview with The Mirror, Cowell explained why O'Leary left The X Factor: "I think there was probably a misunderstanding. I thought he wanted to go and he probably thought I wanted him to leave. Neither of us, being stubborn, spoke to each other and then we realised that we miss him."

Another source told The Sun: "Simon [Cowell] may have had questions about Dermot’s commitment before but he soon realised he'd made a mistake.

"Even a couple of weeks into the live shows last year, enquires were being made about bringing Dermot back.

"He had to think long and hard about it because he was loving working on a wide range of projects, including TV series for the BBC, documentaries and his Radio 2 show."

The ITV contract will not, however, prevent O'Leary from continuing his television and radio work for the BBC. He could earn up to £3 million a year. 

The X Factor judging panel has also undergone a revamp ahead of the new series. With Nick Grimshaw and Rita Ora departing, Simon Cowell will be joined by the returning Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger, as well as the evergreen Louis Walsh, back for a 12th series.

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