Strictly trounces X Factor by 1.5m in Saturday night TV ratings war


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The Independent Culture

Strictly Come Dancing has won the Saturday night ratings war, trouncing rival ITV show X Factor by 1.4 million viewers.

Strictly, which kicked off its eleventh series this weekend, attracted a peak audience of 10.2 million, compared with The X Factor’s 8.8 million.

The celebrity dance contest was watched by an average of 9.2 million viewers, an increase of 400,000 on last year’s equivalent episode.

The X Factor averaged 7.8 million, losing one million viewers since last Saturday.

The ITV talent show started its tenth series with strong ratings thanks to Sharon Osbourne’s return to the judging panel, but has not managed to maintain its second week peak of 9.2 million.

Simon Cowell is under increasing pressure to achieve better TV ratings for The X Factor as his ten year broadcasting deal with ITV ends this year. Last year’s final, which saw Middlesbrough-born James Arthur win the contest, suffered its lowest ratings in six year.

The poor ratings for Saturday’s episode come despite changes made to the show’s format, which include a “musical chairs” style elimination.

Strictly and The X Factor overlapped by five minutes in the TV schedule on Saturday between 8.20-8.25pm. Strictly aired between 7.00-8.25pm, with The X Factor broadcast between 8.20-9.50pm.

The X Factor went head-to-head with new BBC fantasy drama Atlantis, which premiered with an average audience of 5.8 million.

The first episode of Strictly Come Dancing on Friday night pulled in an average 7.8 million viewers.