British Broadcasters Eye Saturday Night Ratings Showdown

 FOX

LONDON - For much of August, large portions of the U.K. population watched the BBC and its Summer Olympics coverage, but in the coming weeks things are going to get more interesting - particularly on Saturday nights.

The ninth season of Simon Cowell's X Factor is launching this Saturday in the 8-9:15pm time slot, with the following week's Saturday episode starting at 7:45pm. The music talent competition is the country's highest-rated entertainment show. It has had a start time of around 8pm, but in the U.K. start times typically get finalized only a week or two ahead of time.

The Independent reported Wednesday that the BBC is looking to hit ITV with a “double-whammy” of two hit shows on Saturday though.
Cult sci fi show Doctor Who is expected to start its new season in a few weeks, and dance show Strictly Come Dancing, which outperformed X Factor in some key weeks last year, is scheduled to return in September.

A spokesman for Strictly said schedules haven't been finalized. To avoid annoying viewers too much, Doctor Who is expected to air before X Factor though, the Independent said.

"Our priority is delivering the best Saturday night schedule for BBC1 viewers, and both Doctor Who and Strictly Come Dancing are at the heart of our Saturday night [lineup]," a BBC spokesman said.

ITV didn't comment on any BBC scheduling details beyond highlighting the strong X Factor ratings.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: georg.szalai@thr.com

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