'X Factor' opens solid, but 'Modern Family' steals the show

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Image Credit: Fox

Simon Cowell made a solid return to Fox last night, but his new show The X Factor was no match for the Dunphys and Pritchetts (and a far cry from American Idol).

X Factor debuted to 12.5 million viewers and a 4.4 adults 18-49 rating, while ABC’s Emmy-winning Modern Family delivered 14.3 million viewers and a whopping 6.0 series-high rating. The reality competition drew about half the audience of the most recent season opener of American Idol (which delivered about 26 million viewers and a 9.7 in the demo), a point of comparison that’s inevitable, but also arguably unfair given the top-rated legacy of the other show (though Cowell himself invited the comparison in July, when he suggested to reporters that the new show might top Idol).

X Factor was significantly higher, however, than the debut of NBC’s fall singing competition The Sing Off, and was higher than the debut of Hell’s Kitchen in the slot last year. While a one-hour Modern Family not only won the night, but was up 18 percent from its premiere last fall.

“We’re happy with the numbers,” Fox’s president of alternative Mike Darnell tells EW. “The expectations were ridiculous, and internally this is our best numbers for a Wednesday during premiere week in 13 years. If we can keep anywhere close to these numbers for 40 hours in the fall, it would be amazing for us.”

Modern Family helped power ABC’s new drama Revenge (11.4 million, 3.4) to a strong opening at 10 p.m., winning the hour and marking the network’s best debut in that slot in four years. Meanwhile Modern Family‘s lead-in The Middle (9.6 million, 3.0) had a series high too.

Over on CBS, Survivor (10.3 million, 3.4) dipped a bit for Week 2, but stalwart crime veteran Criminal Minds (14.1 million, 4.1) was actually up a tenth of a point. The real drama is at 10 p.m., however, where Ted Danson made his debut as the new star of CSI (12.6 million, 3.1) with the show in its new time slot. CSI had a fine number for a 10 p.m. show, but was beaten by Revenge and was down 9 percent from its premiere last year.

On NBC, new comedy Up All Night (6 million, 2.3) had a rough transition from having an America’s Got Talent lead-in and no competition last week to having to jump start NBC’s night in its new time slot against X Factor. The comedy was down 38 percent, but this still isn’t a bad number given all the circumstances. The same can’t be said for Free Agents (3.9 million, 1.2) at 8:30 p.m. And the same definitely can’t be said for the premiere of Harry’s Law (7.6 million, 1.2), down an endangering 45 percent.

On The CW, H8R (1.1 million, 0.4) was down 33 percent from its premiere; America’s Top Model (1.6 million, 0.7) was down 22 percent.

So here’s the big “What Do You Think?”: X Factor viewers, let’s hear it.

Comments (149 total) Add your comment
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  • Kovan

    Wohooo, I loved Modern Family especially the new Lily! So cute and adorable! Where’s the damn TV Recap?!

    • Ann

      I didn’t like the new Lily. The original one was cute. I felt the new one spoke to well to be a 3 yr old (she knew how to speak in complete sentences). I can see her as a 4 yr old though. Or maybe all the 3 yr olds I know are dumb and 3 yr olds can speak clearly and annunciate words and speak in complete sentences….

      • Dduellman

        My two year old daughter spoke in complete sentences. Not all kids are the same.

      • Sherry A, Indianapolis

        It is not unusual for 3 year olds to speak in complete sentences. Every child I know that has reached that age (thank God) has had decent vocab development and communicate pretty well, as a previous poster said, even many 2 yr olds…

      • nodnarb

        People who complain about the new Lily are the same people who complain about Facebook changes.

      • JimmyH

        @nodnarb – “Like”

      • DL

        I thought the new Lily was so adorable. The change was also necessary because it opened up so many new storylines for the show. I will say that it’ll probably take a few more episodes before Stonestreet and Ferguson develop full daddy-daughter on-screen chemistry, but I think it’ll happen very quickly.

      • lebeau

        My 2-year-old speaks in complete sentences…

      • mackerelcover

        My grand daughter at less than three years of age was speaking in complete sentences. Most kids are using sentences at three years or even less.

      • Mr. Effing Tea Party

        What’s the big deal? My two year old spoke in a house!

      • Kelly

        My 2 year old speaks just as well, if not better than the new Lily. She even uses idioms properly. I think it is a welcome change, as the old Lily was oddly mute for her age. Everyone on this show is just so good!

    • Grumpster

      X-factor is missing the big buzzing X. It’s like a hybrid AGT/Idol monster.

      • DL

        That’s exactly what I said when I was watching it with my fam last night!

      • Steph

        I meant to watch it but forgot! I’m kind of tapped out with reality singing competitions. I watched The Voice and was more impressed than I expected. I love Simon but there are so many other good shows on.

      • An Average Sized Mustache

        It’s also missing Iceman, Cyclops, Angel, Beast, and Jean.

    • Polly

      I thought Lily 2.0 was adorable and funny, too! She does talk well but I think it’s shocking because the old Lily never spoke.

      • Bus Driver

        It was a little jarring to hear speaking – heck, any sound – come from Lily. She’s always been so stoic and mute, which really was part of her charm. (Crazy happenings all around her. Lily is cool as a cucumber…)

    • sarah

      I loved the premiere! I’ve missed Modern Family! I also thought the time jump on baby Lily was too great; I think it might be more because the previous Lily NEVER SPOKE and honestly looked like she (they) never wanted to be there.

      • Karen

        I read somewhere, that is exactly why Lily was replaced. The twins were not happy, so Mom decided to pull them out of show business, and they are much happier. I liked the new Lily.

      • Butterfly

        Wtf? Where is ANTM recap?

    • Kate Austin

      Man, I liked the old stoned face Lilly. She was so cute and funny.

  • Carly

    LMAO! The idea that X Factor and The Sing Off are being mentioned in the same sentence illustrates what a disaster X Factor’s numbers really are. Ouch!

  • RK

    Wow, that’s really low….

    • Will

      Low compared to American Idol, but many shows would kill for that.

      • Ann

        At 12 million viewers, it’s solid but an awful number for a debuting show with as much hype as has gotten. Second week numbers will dip much lower. Even worse, it didn’t even win it’s timeslot after all that hype and all those advertisements for the show. If any other showed had debuted at 12 million, it would be considered solid, but because this has been the talked about show all summer-long…actually, all year-long…I would consider the debut to be a bomb.

      • Aunt Sassy

        Sorry, but I refuse to spend an hour watching/listening to Paula Abdul and Nicole Whatsherboobs talk about music with any authority and for either of them to “judge” or “mentor” another human being is just so completely LAME. Sorry Simon, as much as I miss you on Idol, you surrounded yourself with the wrong people.

      • Delon

        American Idol’s debut episode in season 1 started with 9.8 million viewers and 4.8 in 18-49 demo in June. At some point the ratings were as low as 7.5 million. The show concluded its first season with a whopping 22.7 million viewers and 10.7 rating in 18-49 demo on the night of the finale in September.

        I think these should be the numbers that The X Factor must be compared to.

      • PN

        Talent show competitions don’t always do well in the fall. The spring and the summer are when they’re watched the most. X-Factor is against some returning comedies such as Modern Family and they’re going to have a problem getting viewers on Wednesday until the live shows. Right now these are the taped and edited shows–let’s wait until the live shows to see if the ratings and viewership will increase.

      • Vince

        Completely agree with Delon. X definitely had a more successful launch than Idol. I expect the numbers to climb, especially as the real competition begins. Furthermore, the show will begin to attract a more diverse audience (other than Idol’s teenage girls and grandmas) because the contestants are more diverse and FAR MORE TALENTED. So glad this program has finally debuted. Idol has been so disappointing (two mediocre teenage country singers in the finale, really?) so this is a refreshing change. And the Simon/LA Paula/Nicole dynamic should continue to develop into something 10 times more entertaining than the tired Randy Jackson, over-inflated JLO and annoying Steven Tyler. Buh-bye Idol, you had a good run, but there’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Simon.

      • Aunt Sassy

        I’d agree with Delon if we weren’t talking about Simon and Paula. Let’s face it – he specifically is a well known name and this show has been hyped 1,000,000,000,000,000 times more than Idol ever was in it’s first season. Paula is also better known now so your logic doesn’t hold up. If these were complete unknowns I’d say you are right, but considering their track record and all of the hype, these numbers are disappointing.

      • wakeforce

        Wait til the live shows start. Many people don’t want to get invested in people like the 42-year old with the great voice, or the ex-addict if they are not going to last long. Idol always highlights people in the first few episodes who we don’t see during the live shows.

      • Silvia

        It’s unfair to compare X-factor’s #s with Idol’s first season. Nobody knew who Simon was at that time, and FOX didn’t even advertise it. I think the show is OK, but it’s missing a key factor, a likable HOST. Someone who narrates what’s going on. I don’t know who that guy was on the sideline but he was barely on camera and said two words. The show NEEDS a HOST!

  • Will

    Modern Family was so good. And I wasn’t expecting 2 episodes. Pleasantly surprised

  • Bruce Blackwood

    I hope they still bring Cheryl Cole in as a guest judge one day on the U.S. version of The X Factor as well as Dannii Minogue, Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland and Tulisa Contostavlos from the UK X Factor.

    • Eli

      Right, cause UK X Factor is so great…

      • lisa g.

        Bruce, u high? Sidenote…I don’t like x factor!

      • Jimmy

        Eli….. your an idiot. the uk verison is way the hell better and it’s a huge hit. maybe u should shut up in regards to things you no nothing about

      • Voodoo

        @Jimmy, then maybe you should stop writing cause you can’t spell.

      • Gary

        @ Eli, just wanted to let you know that the UK x factor is a huge git in the UK, it has an average of 14Million viewers with the final known to top 19Million and this is a country with only 60Million people, not more than 300million so i think you should really do some research before you post things that sound hugely idiotic.

      • @Gary

        Because people watch it doesn’t mean it’s great television….

  • satirex

    The thing I dread about another show like this coming along is not the show itself–it’s easy enough to just watch something else. What I hate is how the next morning every radio show talks about it, every TV talk show talks about it, every entertainment website talks about it, local news shows talk about it, national magazine shows talk about it, magazines talk about, newspapers talk about it. I don’t know how many of them are paid for publicizing the show, but they seem to think everyone in the world wants to hear about it, even though even at the highest, only a quarter of the people in the entire country cared enough to watch it.

    • Poppy

      @satirex – I completely agree. Turned on the TV this morning and it was nothing but X-Factor and re-showing of the “memorable” auditions. Honestly, how many shows like this can we watch? I will not be watching this or the Sing Off, and honestly, I’ve had enough of AI too. I did watch Survivor last night, and DVRd The Middle and Modern Family. I am really looking forward to watching them this evening.

    • NYC

      There IS a solution for this malady: turn off the TV. Pick up a book. Get them all out of your head. I know it sounds radical but I swear I sleep better.

      • Steph

        I’m an avid reader, but you can have both you know. Plenty of intelligent people read books and watch tv. What people are saying here is that there is only so much you can watch, only so much we are willing to watch, and sometimes over-hyped shows are so much in your face from the media it’s sickening. Yes, you can always turn off the TV or listen to your ipod through your car stereo instead of the radio, and avoid all mass market online media outlets… saying to read a book does not make all that go away.

      • John

        Hi there, i just wanted to drop you a line to say that i trulooghhy enjoyed this particular post of yours, I have subscribed to your RSS feeds and have skimmed a few of your posts before but this one really stood out for me. I know that I am just a stranger to you but I figured you might appreciate the appreciation Take care and keep blogging.

  • AN

    I’m just over all reality singing/dancing/performing shows. In fact, the only reality show I watch is Amazing Race.

    • PN

      After September, when America’s Got Talent ends, that’s when I back off of singing talent competition shows.I’ll watch X-Factor this week, but I’m taking a few weeks off after that! I’ll wait until the live shows of X-Factor, but I don’t like to sit through 2 hours of audition shows like they’re doing for a few weeks.

  • Bert

    The editing for the X-Factor is just horrible. Jumpy from performer to performer. You don’t get a feeling for the performers. Maybe it’s because they are weeding them out…who knows. Not impressed.

    • Jake

      they also had continuity issues where you could tell they were mixing up day 1 and day 2 auditions by where the judges were sitting and what they were wearing – it was really weird.

  • Disgusted

    This was the worst piece of crap I ever saw. It was scripted, and contrived. Too much drama, not enough competition.

  • Derek

    For all they hype, all the promotion, and all of Simon’s big talk, this is a humbling number. I didn’t think it would beat Idol, but I didn’t think it would be this low.

  • Jake

    You should compare XF ratings to what THE VOICE did. Seems like it was pretty similar. Im actually happy that XF didn’t get the 28 mil of 2.5 Men. I was really really disappointed with the show that just seemed like the offspring of Got Talent + Idol. It was lame – focused too much on sob story backstories – poor talent was pushed through – bad gimmicky acts were played for laughs – Steve Jones was boring and MIA- Scherzinger was boring and made me wish Cheryl Cole had not been fired (and she just disappeared with no explanation) – and the whole guy wit pants off was just ridiculous – weren’t there kids in the audience if you have 12 year olds competing? It was all shtick. and glad to see something like New Girl on FOX beat XF…But interesting to see if ratings will grow or die…Im sure this show will be hyped to not extent. SO happy for Modern Family. I DVRed it and will watch it- I thought it would get slaughtered by XF. Good to know the American public still has some taste when it comes to broadcast TV

    • Larry

      I agree about the guy with his pants off. That part of the show was just plain Vulgar! Why wasn’t he booted right off the stage and arrested for such a display? It wasn’t funny or entertaining at all. Only a few performers were worth watching. I don’t think I’ll be back.

  • robert

    i think the reason people aren’t tuning in to x-factor is becuase it is so similar to american idol. yes, yes, it has some superficial differences (no age requirements! groups! live audience! blehhh), but at the end of the day people see american idol as an event. it happens once a year, and the hype buildup is important. i would imagine that if fox aired two cycles of american idol a year, the ratings would only be around half of what they usually. when you “anoint” two people as “america’s next star,” they naturally lose some luster. one winner, one cycle a year makes it appointment and event television.

    • robert

      addendum: people are clearly tuning in to x-factor, what i mean is that they’re not tuning in as much as american idol. my first sentence was bit of hyperbole.

    • Vicky

      “but at the end of the day people see american idol as an event. ” Yeah, an event that last 5 months! I feel like if you actually calculated the amount of hours that American Idol is on TV, then it would seem much less eventful.

    • nodnarb

      It’s not just because of Idol. It’s because there are like 47 friggin’ singing competitions on TV right now. They could start an entire signing competition channel. People are burned out.

      • PN

        I thought there were TOO many singing talent competitions at one point in June as many as 4 ( two on cable and two on NBC). Too much overlap and too many of the same format as American Idol. And doesn’t FremantleMedia ever take a BREAK?! They’ve gone a nonstop 35 (!) weeks with 3 different singing competitions with Idol, AGT and just now with X-Factor. They need to take 2 weeks off between those shows’ runs without this assembly line one show ends another show starts launch that they do with them.

    • PN

      Personally, I don’t think none of the later talent shows can match what American Idol did this spring. I’m still talking about that season more that either The Voice or America’s Got Talent. I wish X-Factor well, but I don’t think it will get the 20 or 25 million numbers one expected it to get. I think it will average 12 to 15 million, a typical sitcom show rating similar to Modern Family.

    • PN

      American Idol works only once a year. If they did it twice a year, it would be disastrous.

  • Lalaland

    A 4.2 demo should be solid for any other show but that has GOT to a blow for FOX. I personally thought it would bring a 7.0 at least.

    They brought the big guns: Simon + Paula + 5 Million Dollar Recording Contract = half the pairs of eyeballs watching Jennifer Lopez’s booty and Steven Tyler’s weave.

    • Jamie

      Hi. On my blog, I always try to keep my posts to 500-700 words. Why? Because that’s opiamtl for Google/Yahoo/Bing to rank you well so people can find you blog. We all want to get more readers and increase our visitors right? Just my 2 cents. Regards, Derek Thon

  • Lindsay

    Nice to see that America is finally settling on good quality televsion over this reality crap. If this was 5 years ago, X-Factor probably would have crushed a show like Modern Family in the ratings. Good for ABC

    • JLC

      Amen. This is the best ratings news I’ve heard in a long time. It’s awesome to see a scripted show trounce a reality competition.

    • Boiler

      Couldn’t agree more

    • Delon

      Remember that Modern Family just won its second consecutive Best Comedy Emmy a week ago. It is clearly the show to beat on Wednesday nights. The X Factor is an untested product for many viewers. I think it will go up from here instead of down.Especially once the live shows start, because they are bombastic full-on stage productions. But, i have to say that looking at these numbers The Voice has stolen some of The X Factor’s thunder by premiering 6 months ahead.

    • PN

      I think that this is FOX’s first time of putting a singing competition in the fall on Wednesday and it’s going to be a rough road. They’re so used to running comedies or dramas that day. And if it was 2005 or 2006 when there were a staggering 15 reality shows on the networks, X-Factor would have won that time slot over the usual comedy or drama. But that reality show, relying on Mark Burnett, cash cow formula doesn’t work like it used to and people are going back to scripted shows again.

  • myrtle

    This show is dead on arrival, based on its production cost and the amount spent on marketing it is a dud.

    The Voice premiere was higher. This years AGT premier was higher rated.

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