More ex-fans for 'X Factor': Ratings lowest ever

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So Simon … do you want to join NBC’s America’s Got Talent next summer or return to Fox’s American Idol?

Because a fourth season of The X Factor probably isn’t going to happen.

The broadcast season hasn’t even officially started yet and Factor has been bombing, delivering ratings roughly 38 percent lower than last fall in its first couple weeks on the air. Thursday night’s episode fell to 6.1 million viewers and an unprecedented 1.9 in the demo, slipping 14 percent from last week’s two-hour edition. Broadcast competition was soft, with Factor facing repeats and the modestly rated summer finales of ABC’s Wipeout (4.4 million, 1.2) and NBC’s Million Second Quiz (5.4 million, 1.4), the latter hosted by Cowell’s former Idol band-mate Ryan Seacrest.

Given that Factor will start facing heavy competition next week like original episodes of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, it’s easy to imagine its demo rating slipping lower into the teens. Plus, NBC’s The Voice is about to launch. Voice doesn’t air on the same nights as X Factor, yet its presence certainly can’t help matters. Critics, including our EW’s Annie Barrett, have been pretty brutal about Factor Ver. 3.0, which has yet another revamped judging panel that includes Paulina Rubio and Kelly Rowland.

Yet Fox has cause for optimism for other slots on the schedule: New drama Sleepy Hollow surprised with an impressive opener on Monday, and the network’s new Tuesday comedies improved their time slots.


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