X Factor 2016: Simon Cowell never wanted Dermot O'Leary to leave

The X Factor - Dermot O'Leary

Simon Cowell has claimed that Dermot O'Leary's exit from The X Factor last year was a "misunderstanding".

Dermot left the series in 2015 after eight years fronting the ITV series, replaced by duo Olly Murs and Caroline Flack.

But, in a chat with the Daily Mirror, Simon has said he never wanted Dermot to go.

Speaking to the tabloid about getting Dermot back for this year's series, Simon revealed: “He came out to see me in Los Angeles.

"He may have thought it was going to be an awkward meeting but it was one of the easiest I’ve have ever had."

The music mogul explained: "I think there was probably a misunderstanding. I thought he wanted to go and he probably thought I wanted him to leave. Neither of us, being stubborn, spoke to each other and then we realised that we miss him.

“So I told him that and it was a really fun hour or two we spent together."

Simon went on to tease that he and Dermot had brainstormed some "good ideas" to improve the show.

"He is coming back very positive and confident," Simon continued. "In a strange way I think it may have done him good to be off the show for a year because people will appreciate him more when he is back.

"We have done most of the groundwork now and have made some fun changes to X Factor which you will see this year."

The X Factor will air later this year on ITV.

Dermot's return won't be the only change, with Louis Walsh, Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger tipped to make comebacks to the panel.

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