After weeks of speculation, ITV confirmed last week that Simon Cowell will not be a judge on the next The X-Factor series. His involvement with the US version of The X Factor means he will no longer be a fixture on our TV screens this year, as he has also opted out of appearing on Britain’s Got Talent.
Although Peter Fincham, ITV’s director of television, doesn’t seem worried about Cowell’s absence, it is too early to know just how ratings will be impacted – if at all. He is arguably one of the main attractions of his talent shows with his straight-talking approach and unflinching honesty and his absence could leave both shows suffering.
Peak viewing figures from last Saturday’s return of Britain’s Got Talent revealed a drop in over a million viewers from last year. However, average viewing numbers which include the ITV+1 figures actually only show a drop of 200,000. Does this support the argument that a lack of Cowell will indeed hurt ITV? We will have to wait until September’s launch of X-Factor’s new series to see just how much his absence will be felt.
We’ve already seen him leave American Idol last year without too much damage to the show’s popularity. However, it is clear there has been a dynamic shift in the show’s presentation since his departure.
So, we will have to wait and see. ITV has yet to annouce Simon’s replacement, but is currently in “advanced talks” with Gary Barlow for a place in the hot seat. If anything, throngs of women are sure to up the viewing figures if Barlow gets chosen which could save the ratings – but it cannot guarantee the same shock and awe factor Cowell so easily brought to both shows.
Will you still tune into X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent if Cowell isn’t a judge, or could you care less?