'X Factor' U.K. Draws Lowest Season-Debut Ratings Since 2006

Rita Ora - P 2015

The Simon Cowell singing competition, which added Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw as judges this season, had a dominant TV audience share, though.

The season opener of The X Factor in the U.K. this weekend attracted the lowest audience for a season launch of the singing competition since 2006.

Last year, the return of creator Simon Cowell as a judge on the ITV show helped boost the ratings for the season debut.‎ The 12th season-launch episode this Saturday drew an average 7.7 million viewers, down from 9.5 million viewers last season.

But the show's season debut once again dominated Saturday night in Britain, with a share of almost 40 percent of people who were watching TV at the time tuning in.

The 2013 season premiere had attracted 9.2 million average viewers in the overnight ratings, up from 8.7 million in 2012, which had been the show's lowest figure since 2006, when the season opener drew 7 million viewers. In 2011, the show's best season launch ever reached an average audience of 11.3 million people in the overnight ratings. That compared to‎ 11.1 million in 2010.

The second episode of the new season also drew lower ratings than last year. It attracted 6.5 million viewers, down from 8.2 million last year.

This season features new U.K. judges Rita Ora and Nick Grimshaw, with Caroline Flack and Olly Murs replacing Dermot O'Leary as hosts.

Fox canceled the singing competition's U.S. version last year.