Simon Cowell's New U.K. Game Show Losing Viewers

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Ratings for the casino-themed "Red or Black?" drop significantly since its 7.2 million Saturday night debut.

LONDON – More than 7 million viewers tuned in Saturday night to watch Red or Black? the Simon Cowell-produced game show rumored to be ITV1’s most expensive bet to date.

Thought to have cost $11.5 million for a seven-night run, the beat-the-odds themed show failed to match the performance of the network’s juggernaut X Factor, which delivered an audience of 12 million, kicking off its second week on air.

Red or Black?, hosted by long-time ITV game show hosts Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, is ITV1’s attempt to revive the big-money format that it made so famous with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? in the 1990s. It sees contestants perform  a series of challenges and bid to win a prize of a million pounds. The show launched at 7pm on Saturday night earning an audience of 6.6 million viewers and a 31% share, with the results show at 9.15 pm drawing in 7.2 million viewers and a 31% share.

But by Sunday night the early show at 6:45 p.m. had fallen back to an average of 4.7 million viewers and a 22% share and the 8.30 pm results show drew in 5.4 million viewers with a 21% share. All the overnight ratings figures exclude on-demand and catch-up viewing.

However, despite the slow start for the show, which will run for the next week, ITV1’s total tally was buoyed by X Factor, which seems to have shrugged off the absence of Cowell in the on-screen line up and grabbed a 12 million audience for the second Saturday night in a row.

Although this year’s show launched without Danni Minogue or Cheryl Cole, two seasoned judges who have since not been renewed, the audience seems to have taken to their replacements who include Take That star Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh and Kelly Rowland.

Speaking at last week’s MTV VMAs, Rowland said that the show was “really kicking ass": "The UK … are just such loyal fans of the X Factor and I think that Simon has done a brilliant job of making this such a huge brand. People literally gather in front of the television to watch this show on Saturday night. It speaks a lot about family to still want to be able to have that moment in front of the television to be all together,” the former Destiny’s Child singer said.

She was also confident about how American audiences would take to the new Fox show

“I think they’ll love it. I think that Simon has such a great team. It’s him and his team that are relentless at perfection,” Rowland said.

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