ITV Feels Like It CAN’T Get Rid Of ‘The X Factor UK’
We’ve reported on the fact that in spite of successful singles sales on iTunes, last year was the worst season in terms of ratings in The X Factor‘s long history. This continues a trend that has been going on for years. However, the producers and stars of The X Factor aren’t worried that they will be cancelled. According to ex-BBC director general Greg Dyke, replacing a show like The X Factor is nearly impossible on Saturday nights.
It is an issue even here in the U.S. Saturday is a weird programming night. In theory, young people are going to be out on the town not sitting on the couch watching TV. That’s why the paradigm for Saturday shows has either been that they fizzle quickly or they stay on forever, like Saturday Night Live for example. Dyke says this is true both with the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and ITV’s X Factor. He says,
“The problem for both BBC One and ITV is that getting a new show to work in such a competitive slot is incredibly difficult which means Saturday nights are mainly filled by old favourites like Casualty, Strictly and The X Factor, and new shows are usually doomed to failure. If you look back to Saturday nights over the decades, only a few entertainment shows have taken off and then stayed. What’s interesting is that it’s hard to come up with a programme that was created in the last decade – with the possible exception of The Voice UK, which has been a moderate hit on both BBC One and ITV. The question is what happens when X Factor and Strictly disappear, as all entertainment shows eventually do? TV controllers all want a new format involving new talent, but so far, nothing has emerged.”
He’s got a point. The only way you are going to get people to stay home and watch a show on Saturday nights is if you tap into the zeitgeist somehow or they do it out of habit because it’s been on so long. Either way that’s hard to predict. I imagine The X Factor will be on until Simon is old and grey and Louis Walsh is a re-animated corpse.