Dermot O'Leary says 'it's nice to be missed' after quitting X Factor
Published 10/01/2016 | 00:06
Former X Factor host Dermot O'Leary says it is "nice to be missed" - but he is trying not to wish failure on his successors.
Long-time presenter O'Leary quit in March before the 2015 series began, and was replaced by co-hosts Caroline Flack and Olly Murs.
And there were more new faces on the ITV show as Louis Walsh was axed from the judging panel, with Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw brought in as new judges.
O'Leary, 42, said: "Louis texted me at the start of the series going, 'See, they're missing us! See!'
"So it's nice to be missed, but at the same time you don't want: 'It's not enough for me to succeed, my friends have to fail' - you don't want to fall into that trap."
Looking back on his decision to leave, he said: " I gave myself a week and a half as I was working in the States for Radio 2 doing SXSW (South by Southwest) and it gave me a little time to think, and I thought: 'Maybe I'll quit now'.
"I came back and the contract was still being sorted and I just thought, 'You know what? Now is the right time' - so I went."
Instead, O'Leary has been working on The Getaway Car, a BBC motoring show featuring The Stig, in which members of the public compete in a series of car challenges. He is also hosting the National Television Awards later in January.
On his X Factor experience, he said: " It was eight years of my life so it would be kind of callous of me to dismiss it.
"And I want my friends to be a success on that show... I want them to have time to bed in."
After shaky ratings for The X Factor in 2015, some have questioned whether the ITV show is still healthy enough to return for another series.
But O'Leary said: "I think fundamentally, if people are still watching it and people are still engaged with it, then it will do well. But it's a brutal world, a commercial world that X Factor lives in, so I don't know. I still think it has a place."
He also retains his affection for show boss and judge Simon Cowell.
He said: " Simon's always embraced a certain madness in the world and he's strange Simon, because he's a mainstream guy and yet in many ways, one of the most subversive people I've ever worked with.
"What I love about Simon is he's been there and been knocked back and he's got back up - so he's been bankrupt, and so in many ways he is used to failure and knows how to handle it. He's a big boy."
:: Dermot O'Leary will host the National Television Awards on Jan 20 from 10pm on ITV. The Getaway Car begins on BBC One on January 16.