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Dermot O’Leary leaves X Factor after 8 years and becomes favorite for Top Gear

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Dermot O’Leary has announced he is quitting The X Factor after eight years as the show’s host.

Dermot O’Leary, 41, said in a statement: “After eight wonderful years on The X Factor it’s time for me to move on.

“I’d like to thank ITV, Simon [Cowell], The X Factor family and particularly the viewers, all of whom have been a big part of my life for so long.”

He took over from Kate Thornton in 2007 as host of the popular talent show.

Dermot O’Leary currently presents a show on Radio 2 and recently completed a 24-hour dance challenge for Comic Relief.Dermot O'Leary leaves X Factor

“I’d like to wish the team all the best for the future, especially whoever takes over from me,” he said in the statement.

“You’re about to be the conductor on the most brilliant, runaway train in showbiz. Good luck you’ll love it!”

The news of Dermot O’Leary’s departure may fuel speculation that he is a contender to replace Jeremy Clarkson on the Top Gear motoring show.

Before The X Factor, Dermot O’Leary hosted Big Brother’s Little Brother, Channel 4’s companion show to its long-running reality show.

A spokesman for ITV said Dermot O’Leary had been “a fantastic host of The X Factor” and that the channel was “sorry to see him go”.

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