Simon Cowell on whether Ant McPartlin will be back for Britain's Got Talent next year
Simon Cowell has spoken about the possibility of Ant McPartlin returning to TV screens for Britain's Got Talent next year.
McPartlin appeared in court this past April following a collision with two other vehicles earlier this year, for which he was fined £86,000 (around €95,000).
He was also banned from driving for 20 months, after he pleaded guilty to being twice the legal drink drive limit.
The TV host stepped down from his role in this year's Britain's Got Talent's live shows, as well as the final episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway.
Last month, he confirmed that he would be taking the rest of the year off to focus on his recovery - and that he would not be joining Dec in the jungle for I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!
The statement, issued on the presenting duo's website, also said that the new series of Saturday Night Takeaway is being pushed back to 2020 and that it will be "bigger and better than ever".
However, Simon Cowell has now admitted he is hopeful that Ant will be back on TV for next year - just in time for the new season of Britain's Got Talent.
Ahead of the launch of The X Factor tonight [September 1], the music mogul said he thought Ant did "the right thing" by taking some time off.
He told The Sun:
“That is what I always thought would happen, so I am happy to hear that. He is welcome back and we have missed him. But he has done the right thing by taking some time off, and he will come back fresh and will enjoy it.
“We didn’t speak while he was in rehab but we got messages through Dec – as we have always done – but I didn’t want to impose on his privacy.
"But we have always made it clear what our relationship is, we help each other. We are friends and he is welcome back anytime.”