Dermot O'Leary
Dermot O'Leary is set to return to the X Factor with an £8 million deal, reports claim ITV

Television presenter Dermot O'Leary has reportedly signed a colossal £8m deal to return to the X Factor. In what is said to be the most exorbitant television agreement since Jonathan Ross' multi-million BBC chat show, the British-Irish personality will be the highest-paid host on UK television.

O'Leary, 43, left the singing talent show in 2015 and left co-hosts Ollie Murs and Caroline Flack at the helm. Following their flailing performance and negative reception from the viewing public, Simon Cowell called him back for the 2016 series in a bid to redeem the plummeting ratings.

A source told The Sun: "This is the comeback of all comebacks for Dermot. Just one year after [Simon] Cowell axed him, he's signing the contract of a lifetime.

"It's completely unheard of for one presenter to be paid £8m to host one show. There hasn't been a deal like it since Jonathan Ross was getting millions a year from the BBC to host his chat show.

"The X Factor just didn't work without Dermot. Getting him to come back was absolutely essential for its future," they added.

nicole scherzinger
Louis Walsh, Nicole Scherzinger and Dermot O'Leary [pictured with former judge Tulisa Contostavlos (L)] will all be returning to 2016's X Factor Getty

Following the departure of judges Cheryl, Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw, this year's X Factor will also see a new judging panel comprising of Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne, along with Cowell.

ITV boss Kevin Lygo only agreed to continue broadcasting the X Factor until at least 2020 once O'Leary had signed the contract, cites The Telegraph.

Regarding Cowell's stance on O'Leary's departure, another source told The Sun: "Simon [Cowell] may have had questions about Dermot's commitment before but he soon realised he'd made a mistake.

"Even a couple of weeks into the live shows last year, enquires were being made about bringing Dermot back. He had to think long and hard about it because he was loving working on a wide range of projects, including TV series for the BBC, documentaries and his Radio 2 show."