'X Factor' U.K. Peak Audience Drops in Third Week


The ITV show from Simon Cowell, who will make an appearance this season for the first time in two years, also saw its average audience decline minimally to 8.6 million.

LONDON - British commercial broadcaster ITV1 drew as many as 9.7 million viewers Saturday night with the third episode of Simon Cowell's X Factor - the show's lowest figure season-to-date.

X Factor, which is in its ninth season here, had a higher peak audience of 10.9 million last week, which was up from a peak audience of 9.9 million in its season debut.

The latest Saturday figures, which include viewing on ITV1+1 that shows shows with a one-hour delay, still made the show the most-watched TV program of Saturday night in the U.K. Its peak audience was nearly 3 million ahead of the evening's second-ranked show, according to ITV.

The average audience for the music competition amounted to 8.6 million, down about 2 million from the year-ago period. Its season opener and its second episode had each averaged 8.7 million viewers.

X Factor, which started at 8:10pm this weekend, had no overlap with the highly anticipated season debut of BBC1 hit show Doctor Who, which started at 7:20pm and ran until 8:10pm. The show drew an average of 6.4 million and peaked at 6.9 million.

The Saturday episode of X Factor was the third episode with new judge and Pussycat Dolls star Nicole Scherzinger who replaced Kelly Rowland.

Cowell is set to appear on the British version of the show later this season for the first time in two years in some undisclosed form, producers have confirmed British tabloid reports. The appearance is expected to drew additional viewers.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that choreographer Brian Friedman would return to The X Factor U.K. for the music competition's live shows.

The U.S. choreographer worked on the British show for years before joining the U.S. version last year. Friedman tweeted at the end of the week that he would return to London to rejoin the British version of the hit show as creative director. He was known for big stage routines and is expected to look to help the show's ratings, which dropped last year.

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