Belfast Telegraph

ITV boss defends The X Factor amid falling ratings

ITV boss Kevin Lygo has called The X Factor "an enormous hit", despite this year's (16) premiere episodes failing dismally in the ratings.

The X Factor will "run and run and run", ITV head Kevin Lygo has insisted.

The new series of the ITV talent show premiered on Saturday night (27Aug16), with 6.8 million viewers tuning in - 800,000 down from last year's first episode and the lowest viewed launch numbers since 2005. While the ratings peaked at 7.5 million, they were still lower than last year's average of 7.65 million.

Sunday night's episode didn't fare much better, with just 6.3 million watching. But regardless of this drop, The X Factor was still the most watched programme on Sunday night, with a peak of 7.1 million viewers.

While these numbers aren't bad when compared to other television shows, considering The X Factor once topped 14 million viewers, it's not a successful premiere.

However, despite the ratings fall, ITV's head of studios Kevin has backed the talent show, which sees judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh, Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne rate singing hopefuls, as an "enormous hit".

Speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival last week (ends28Aug16), Lygo insisted: "It’s an enormous hit. It’s really been proven that these shows can last, and run and run and run and most of the high ratings shows on all the networks have been around an awfully long time.

"That’s a good thing and we embrace that."

Despite Kevin speaking before this series premiered, he was asked if he would consider axing the show if viewers failed to tune in.

"No I’m not going to do it. It’s a wonderful show," he said, adding, "It’s a show that gets eight, nine million viewers, it’s fine thank you very much, I wish I had more problems like The X Factor."

This weekend's first episodes saw Samantha Lavery, Finnish Saara Aalto and rapper Honey G the standout auditions, with the judges putting them through to bootcamp.

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