'The Voice' U.K. Again Beats Simon Cowell's 'Britain's Got Talent' as Both See Ratings Drop

5:55 AM PST 04/22/2012 by Georg Szalai
Michael Becker/Fox

The BBC show also beat the ITV competition in terms of peak audience for the first time as "BGT" had its first later start to avoid an overlap with its rival.

LONDON - In its fifth week in the U.K., The Voice drew a lower average audience of 9.9 million viewers Saturday night, compared with a series high of 10.7 million a week earlier. But it still beat out Simon Cowell's rival competition series Britain's Got Talent.

It was the first week that the two shows had no expected overlap after the 75-minute BGT moved into the 8:30 pm time slot to avoid a 20-minute showdown with The Voice, which has regularly won in terms of viewer numbers during that overlap. But ITV representatives, clearly unhappy, pointed out on Twitter that the BBC show affected BGT's ratings as it ran over by three minutes, even though it was pre-taped.

The Voice, which airs on BBC1, in its 7pm time slot again outperformed its rival, but drew a smaller audience with the battle round stage, which continues Sunday night.

BGT, from Cowell's Syco and featuring the TV star as a judge, reached an average 9.7 million viewers, including a replay of the show an hour later on ITV1+1, which airs shows with a brief delay. Excluding delayed viewing, it attracted 9.3 million on average.

Last week, BGT had drawn an average of slightly more than 10 million, including ITV1+1 viewers. But the latest episode drew about 1 million more people than the same show last year.

"The audience to Britain's Got Talent grew rapidly between 8:30 pm and 8:35 pm - rising from 5.9 million to 10.2 million, coinciding with The Voice U.K. overriding on BBC1," ITV said in a statement.

BGT this Saturday was also edged out by The Voice in terms of peak audience, where it had previously retained the lead. The latter's 11.6 million peak audience beat BGT's 11.1 million, which had drawn as many as 12.2 million viewers a week earlier.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai

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