'X Factor' U.K. Average Viewership Tops 'Strictly Come Dancing' Debut Ratings


The season opener of the BBC celebrity dance show, which avoided overlapping with the Simon Cowell music show on ITV, drew a higher live peak audience though.

LONDON - The X Factor U.K. on British commercial broadcaster ITV1 saw an audience gain in the fifth week of the season and had the highest average viewership of Saturday night, but the season debut of BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing drew the highest live peak ratings of the evening.

The first episode of the celebrity dance show's new season averaged 8 million viewers in the 6:30pm time slot, which avoided a clash with X Factor, and peaked with 9.8 million.

Strictly will return early next month with its live. Last season's live debut of the show had reached an average audience of 7.98 million, down from 9.05 million in 2010.

Meanwhile, the latest episode of Simon Cowell's X Factor peaked with 9.5 million viewers later in the night, or 10 million when including people who watched the show with a delay of one hour on the ITV1+1 catch-up channel. The show had an average audience of 8.6 million, or 9 million including ITV1+1.

That was the highest average viewership on British television Saturday night and meant an improvement in peak performance over the show's previous weeks. But it continued to underperform the previous season, which had regularly drawn more than 10 million viewers.

The X Factor's first Sunday show of the season's last weekend reached an average audience of 7.9 million, down from last season's first Sunday show, which had drawn 10.3 million viewers.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai