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BBC treats ratings battle between X Factor and Strictly as a game, says ITV boss

Published 27/08/2015

ITV claims the BBC is scheduling Strictly Come Dancing against The X Factor (ITV/PA)
ITV claims the BBC is scheduling Strictly Come Dancing against The X Factor (ITV/PA)

The BBC treats the scheduling clash between Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor as a "game", the head of ITV has claimed.

Peter Fincham has accused the rival network of deliberately orchestrating the clashes between the reality contests.

The director of ITV was asked about the scheduling controversy during a session at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

He said: "I think there is something in what I say. It's a game to them and it's business to us. That's what I, in a way, wanted to say.

"Take a million or two off the audience of The X Factor and that turns into income."

ITV has released its full schedule for The X Factor shows this year in a bid to evade any blame for the Saturday and Sunday night ratings battle between the rival reality contests.

The BBC has allegedly already moved back the air time of the Strictly launch show on Saturday September 5 so that it overlaps with the third episode of The X Factor.

Mr Fincham said previously: "What happens with billings is that we have a number of exchanges, so on Saturday week there's a Strictly Come Dancing launch show and a third X Factor audition show. And we had a first exchange which had The X Factor show starting exactly where the Strictly show ended. Which is a pretty happy outcome for everybody.

"That revealed to each broadcaster what we were doing, so the BBC knew what we were doing.

"In the second exchange, they moved Strictly 20 minutes later. I don't know why they did that, but it feels a bit like, 'Let's try to see if we can clip The X Factor's wings'."

A BBC spokesman said: "We always try to avoid clashes, but we schedule our programmes with licence fee payers in mind and they tell us they want high-quality entertainment at the heart of the Saturday night schedule."

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