'X Factor' U.K. Peak Audience Improves in Second Week

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A month after Simon Cowell's final Idol bow, Fox announces the arrival of X Factor. "People aren't done with the genre," says Darnell.

Pussycat Dolls star Nicole Scherzinger is a new judge on the show, which had seen a clear ratings decline year-over-year in its season opener.??

LONDON - British commercial broadcaster ITV1 drew as many as 10.9 million viewers Saturday night with the second episode of Simon Cowell's X Factor, which is in its ninth season here.

That was up from a peak audience of 9.9 million in its season debut last weekend.

The latest Saturday figure amounted to a 46 percent share of people watching TV at the time and helped make the show the most-watched TV program of Saturday night in the U.K. with more than double the audience of the second-ranked show.

Just like with its season opener last weekend, the 75 minute show averaged 8.7 million viewers, a 40 percent share. That was below the show's season average of last year.

The Saturday show was the second episode with new judge and Pussycat Dolls star Nicole Scherzinger who replaced Kelly Rowland. Take That's Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Louis Walsh, the only judge who has been with the show from the beginning, are back as judges this season as is host Dermot O'Leary.?

Elaine Bedell, director of entertainment & comedy at ITV, on Friday expressed confidence in the ratings outlook for X Factor despite the weaker season opening. "It was the hottest day of the year," Bedell told the Edingburgh International Television Festival about last weekend, also citing the aftermath of the Olympics on the BBC. "We're just at the beginning," she added in reiterating that the network expects solid audience performances. ?

For the 7-10:30pm time slot this Saturday, TV1 drew an average audience of 5.3 million for a 25.3 percent share, down from 5.4 million a week earlier. That made it the most watched channel Saturday night, ahead of the nearest networks by 1.4 million viewers.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai