Olly Murs and Caroline Flack to co-host The X Factor

This article is more than 5 years old

Simon Cowell asks former hosts of spin-off show The Xtra Factor to replace Dermot O’Leary on TV talent contest suffering long-term ratings decline

Olly Murs and Caroline Flack are a ‘brilliant double act’, said Simon Cowell.
Olly Murs and Caroline Flack are a ‘brilliant double act’, said Simon Cowell. Photograph: Ian West/PA

Simon Cowell has turned to Olly Murs and Caroline Flack to present the new series of ITV’s The X Factor, replacing Dermot O’Leary after eight years in the role.

Murs and Flack, the programme’s first co-hosts, will present a new-look X Factor when it returns in the autumn following successive revamps that have failed to halt a long-term ratings slide.

Cowell described them as a “brilliant double act”.

Murs was runner-up of the X Factor’s sixth series in 2010 before becoming a chart-topping singer, while Flack, who won last year’s Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1, previously hosted ITV2 spin-off show The Xtra Factor alongside Murs.

Last year’s final, in which Croydon van driver Ben Haenow pipped favourite Fleur East to the title, had an overnight audience of just over 9m viewers, little more than half of the record 17m who watched Matt Cardle’s win in 2010. But the X Factor remains one of ITV’s biggest-rating and most valuable shows.

Cowell said last year that he would ring the changes after his much-anticipated return to the show with fellow judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini failed to stop ratings from falling.

“I have a vision in my head of what it should be and what the audience will respond to, and I think ITV are up for a change,” he said. “If you keep doing the same thing every year, eventually people will get fed up.”

O’Leary, who presents the Saturday afternoon show on Radio 2, announced his departure from the show last month.