The short answer to this is, Simon Cowell surely hopes not! But the looming threat of The X Factor being cancelled and replaced is definitely over his head. Simon is banking on the fact that this season’s new judging panel will bring eyes back to The X Factor. But ITV Entertainment has said that it has a new Saturday night format “ready to go,” which includes The Four. Let’s dive into this ratings war and how likely it is that The X Factor could redeem itself to stay on the air another year.
After the success of The Four in the US, ITV Entertainment has had its eye on bringing the hit show to the UK. The format is seen as a “ready-made replacement” for shows like The X Factor and The Voice. But The X Factor is the more at-risk of the two, due to its lower ratings. Plus, the show is aging. This year will be its 15th series.
Last season, The X Factor saw its lowest viewing figures EVER. Meanwhile, Strictly Come Dancing, which airs at the same time, dominated the time period. To put a number on it, The X Factor had about 6.4 million viewers per episode. Strictly Come Dancing, on the other hand, averaged 11 million. That’s almost twice as many viewers each week! This is especially shocking, as The X Factor used to pull in 19.4 million viewers weekly and would handily beat Strictly Come Dancing.
So this ratings war that used to be close is now turning into a blowout. Strictly Come Dancing continues to increase viewership while The X Factor is declining year-by-year. This is why a show like The Four is appealing to executives. The thought is that maybe a new format will bring eyes back to ITV. And they need it! Plus, the show has now been developed successfully in the US so they have something to work off of.
All this is not good news for Simon Cowell though. His idea was to reinvent The X Factor that already existed so it feels new and fresh. And considering they pulled a Hail Mary by overhauling the judging panel this season, Simon and ITV are counting on that aggressive move paying off. However, initial response to the new judges hasn’t exactly been as positive as they hoped for. Many fans have questioned Ayda’s spot on the panel. Other fans are excited but skeptical about Louis Tomlinson joining the show. And Simon and team have reportedly already spent £20 million just to get this line-up! This will be a costly mistake if it doesn’t pay off.
But honestly, I don’t see how it could. It seems like The X Factor is coming to its inevitable end sooner rather than later. There’s always a challenge bringing back viewers to a show they already decided they don’t want to watch. With a new judging panel that isn’t exciting viewers, a trend of declining ratings, and the audience tuning in to BBC One for Strictly Come Dancing instead, it seems like no amount of re-vamping could swing the pendulum back in The X Factor‘s favor. This means we could be seeing a new UK version of The Four before too long, if the inevitable happens.