Simon Cowell's 'Britain's Got Talent' Starts Live Shows With Strong Ratings

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The ITV talent show drew an average audience of 10.3 million Monday night.

LONDON –  S imon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent drew an average audience of 10.3 million with its first live semifinals show Monday night, staying above the 10 million mark.

Network ITV on Tuesday also reported that the talent show peaked with 12.2 million viewers on what was a sunny holiday in the U.K.

It didn't immediately provide comparable figures for last year's first live episode. Wikipedia lists last year's show with about 9.4 million viewers, or about 10.5 million including viewership on an additional ITV channel.

But ITV said its Monday broadcast of drew a 43 percent share of those watching TV in the U.K. at the time, up from last year, when the first live show drew an average audience of 9.8 million.

The performance also made the show the most watched program on British TV Monday night.

As of this week, BGT airs live Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the 7:30 to 9 p.m. time slot. That is followed by a 9:30 p.m. results show.

The Monday night results show drew an average of 8.3 million viewers and peaked with 9.1 million, according to ITV.

On Sunday, BGT had narrowed down the talent field to the top 45 acts. That broadcast saw an average of 8.6 million people tune in, down from the average of recent weeks. However, the episode aired on a sunny weekend in an unusual time slot; BGT was moved from its regular Saturday night spot due to a big European soccer match.

Earlier this month, BGT reached its biggest audience of the season with an average of 10.9 million viewers on a Saturday.

Twitter: @georgszalai