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LONDON – Simon Cowell‘s Britain’s Got Talent on ITV1 edged out the BBC’s The Voice U.K. for the first time in weeks in a closely followed Saturday evening ratings showdown of talent competitions.
The Voice had outperformed BGT for most of April, leading the latter to move to a later time slot to avoid a 20-minute overlap that The Voice had been winning handily. Last week’s BGT was the first episode in a later slot, but The Voice ran over by a few minutes then, leading ITV to say its ratings were hurt by a trick from its competition.
BGT, which is from Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and features the X Factor creator as a judge, drew an average audience of 9.4 million in the 8:30-9:30pm slot on Saturday, according to overnight ratings data from ITV. The average audience grew to 9.9 million when including viewership for ITV1+1, which repeats the show with a delay of an hour. That was up 300,000 from the prior week.
“Britain’s Got Talent was the highest rating program on British television last night,” ITV said in a statement.
The Voice had 9.3 million viewers on average in its 7pm slot as viewership dropped for a second week in a row from 9.9 million last Saturday. A week before that, the show had drawn a high of 10.7 million.
Some observers pointed out that The Voice has also lost viewership in other countries once the show moved into the live show phase of the series. Others here also credited BGT with having fewer offbeat auditions than normal and more trained and talented performers.
BGT also reclaimed the ratings win in terms of peak audience, drawing 10.7 million viewers, or 11.3 million when including ITV1+1. The Voice‘s peak audience came in at 10.3 million.
“BGT is packed with thrills and spills, tears and laughter and we are delighted that it consistently continues to be such a firm favorite with viewers,” an ITV spokesman said.
BGT is now averaging 10 million viewers season-to-date, up by 200,000 from the year-ago period. “This makes Britain’s Got Talent the highest rating entertainment show of the year, based on average audience across series-to-date,” compared with The Voice‘s 9.55 million average viewers season-to-date, ITV said.
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