Dermot O'Leary steps down from presenting The X Factor

O'Leary has fronted the programme for almost a decade

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The Independent Online

Dermot O'Leary has stepped down as the presenter of The X Factor, saying it is time to move on.

The 41-year-old has presented the ITV talent show for eight years, and thanked music mogul Simon Cowell - who conceived the programme - as he announced his departure.

He said today: “After eight wonderful years on The X Factor it's time for me to move on. I'd like to thank ITV, Simon, The X Factor family and particularly the viewers, all of whom have been a big part of my life for so long.

“I'd like to wish the team all the best for the future, especially whoever takes over from me. You're about to be the conductor on the most brilliant, runaway train in showbiz. Good luck you'll love it!”

 

Ladbrokes bookmakers have made singer Olly Murs the favourite to replace O'Leary on The X Factor.

O'Leary, who also presents a show on Radio 2, was tipped by bookies as 6-1 to replace Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear, who the BBC sacked earlier this week for attacking a producer.

He is ahead of American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and former JLS star Marvin Humes at the bookies.

Only fellow DJ Chris Evans and Jodie Kidd were placed ahead of him in the betting.

Earlier this month, O'Leary used his high profile to raise more than half a million pounds for Comic Relief this month by taking part in a 24-hour dance marathon.

An ITV spokesman said: "Dermot's been a fantastic host of The X Factor for the past eight series and we're sorry to see him go. We wish him all the very best for the future and hope that he'll be back on ITV screens soon."

Additional reporting by PA

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