Gary Barlow
The host of The X Factor, Dermot O\'Leary, has said that Gary Barlow is preparing to quit as a judge.

X Factor host Dermot O'Leary has confirmed that Gary Barlow has quit the ITV talent show.

The 40-year-old TV presenter let slip at the premiere of One Direction: This Is Us that the Take That singer is to leave the judging panel at the end of this series.

He was responding to rumours that Simon Cowell is to make a comeback after ITV bosses reportedly pleaded with him as part of contract negotiations to keep the show at the channel.

"If Simon comes back, the dynamic would be very different," O'Leary told reporters.

"Gary wouldn't be there - he'll be leaving at the end of this year."

He added: "Simon is a great judge so we'd welcome him back but Gary's been such a great head judge as well."

O'Leary also admitted that he would love a spot on the panel admitted alongside the likes of Barlow, Louis Walsh, Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne.

"I'd love to judge," he said. "I'd be so strict. I'd be nice and strict. I'd be so hardcore. I'd say it how it is," he said.

A spokesman for the show said: "We are focusing on the forthcoming 10th series, and no decisions will be made on next year's judging panel line-up until further down the line."

Barlow has not confirmed that he wants to leave but previously said it was "too early" to comment on his future on the show.

In July, Walsh announced that he would be leaving the X Factor after 10 years on the judging panel.

The X Factor will returned to ITV on 31 August