Belfast Telegraph

Cowell regrets ratings comment

Simon Cowell has admitted he regrets opening his "big mouth" to say he wanted 20 million viewers for the US version of The X Factor.

Simon told Access Hollywood that he was misunderstood when he said it would be a "disappointment" if The X Factor didn't pull in 20 million viewers on its first outing on Fox.

He said: "That was a slight misunderstanding. I wasn't saying I want 20 million for the first episode. I said we want to hit 20 million."

He went on: "Of course that went out there and I thought, 'I have really opened my big mouth here because anything now under 20 is a disaster.

"As much as people want you to succeed, there's a ton of people that want you to fail and I took a bit in the neck that first day."

The show's debut earned 12.5 million viewers, which was less than the premiere of the comedy Modern Family, the leader of the night with 14.5 million viewers.

The X Factor held those numbers for the second episode. In week two, ratings hovered around 12 million an episode.

But Simon added that he was hopeful the show would draw in 20 million viewers eventually. "I do believe - in time, because I believe in the show - we're going to hit those numbers.

"You've got to remember - this is a new show," he said.

:: The US X Factor is on ITV2 on Thursdays and Fridays.

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