Despite being dubbed the show's "great survivor", Louis Walsh seems ready to take on a new project and is set to leave The X Factor for good. The veteran judge has been on the singing competition since it started in 2004, but now spends an increasing amount of time in his native Ireland.
Sources have exclusively told HELLO! magazine that if Louis does leave he is likely to help launch Ireland's Got Talent, a spin-off of popular show Britian's Got Talent, and play a starring role in the new series as chief judge.
While Louis is yet to make any comments, the 62-year-old has previously made no secret of his desire to leave The X Factor.
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Louis Walsh is set to leave the X Factor this year
"I think I'm done with it," said Louis, speaking on Irish programme The Seven O'Clock Show last month. "I've done 11 seasons. That's a long time on television."
"I think they're going to change the show," he added. "I think they're going to get new faces."
Reports also surfaced claiming that Louis had been axed by head honcho Simon Cowell. The music mogul, however, took to Twitter to set the record straight, writing: "Louis Walsh is one of the good guys. We will always be friends. The door remains open and who knows what's next......."
It sounds like Louis is on the shortlist and producers are still deciding which judges to call back, in an attempt to keep viewers enticed. Simon and fellow judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini are both confirmed to return, while Mel B has had to step down.
Nick Grimshaw is rumoured to be replacing Louis Walsh
The same source also told HELLO! magazine that Nick Grimshaw is a likely candidate to step in and replace Louis. With his contacts in the show business industry and his roll-call of famous friends, including Harry Styles, Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne, show bosses are considering Nick as a serious option.
The Radio 1 DJ last year said that he would love to join his friend Cheryl on the panel, and is now reportedly in talks to sign a £1million contract, a report in The Mirror also claimed.
The X Factor source told HELLO! magazine: "Nick Grimshaw is very much a contender to join X Factor but nothing has been signed yet."