Former X Factor presenter David O’Leary has suggested Simon Cowell should take the ailing talent show off air for a year to revive its fortunes.
O’Leary hosted the ITV series from 2007 to 2014, a period in which it regularly attracted audiences of over 10m viewers. For last year’s series, which saw ratings nosedive as The X Factor was beaten not just by BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing, but also by Countryfile, he was replaced by presenting duo Caroline Flack and Olly Murs.
“If I was Simon I’d take [the show] off air for a year,” O’Leary told the Radio Times. “I’d rest it, and then I’d get back to the rooms. For me it was always room [auditions], arena, boot camp.”
O’Leary also revealed that he is not a fan of the controversial ‘Six Chair Challenge’ portion of the show, in which contestants are swapped in and out of a limited number of seats representing their places in the next round of the competition.
“I was really uncomfortable about the Six Chair Challenge,” said O’Leary, who saw this portion of the show introduced in 2013. “I don’t think it’s a particularly nice bit of television. One of the reasons people like Strictly is because Strictly is a very warm show, and I think you’ve got to keep that in mind.”
Cowell has already confirmed that The X Factor will return later this year for its 13th series on ITV, but after that the show’s future is uncertain, with rival talent show The Voice due to move to the same channel in 2017.