Simon Cowell Attracts Almost 11 Million for 'Britain's Got Talent' Return

Ian Derry/FOX

The show aired hours after Cowell announced Cheryl Cole would be absent from the lineup of 'X-Factor UK.'

LONDON - Simon Cowell's heavily trailed return to Britain's Got Talent Monday night helped the show to break the 10 million barrier for the first time, according to overnight ratings.

The live semi-final drew almost 11 million viewers, with fans tuning in to see Cowell on air for the first time in the series, on a show broadcast just hours after he announced that Cheryl Cole would not be presenting X-Factor UK.

The show, which saw 12-year Ronan Parke and Paul Gbegbaje go through to the final, aired over 90 minutes from 7.30 p.m. on ITV1, attracting an average audience of 10.9 million, over a million more than earlier episodes.

Cowell remained silent on the fate of his protege, whom he had nurtured and tried to launch in the U.S. However, that did not save him from on-screen teasing from Britain's Got Talent co-host Declan Donnelly, who ribbed him about whether he understood British regional accents..

Cole, who is understood to have been offered a place on X-Factor U.K., has yet to break her silence on why she turned it down, and on the impact of being dumped from X-Factor U.S. She is thought to be in talks about possibly joining The Voice, which is set to air on the BBC.