Simon Cowell will not be pleased: Britney Spears’ debut as a hard-hitting judge on Fox’s struggling X Factor doesn’t appear to have had much of an impact on the show’s disappointing ratings. Viewership for Wednesday’s Factor debut was down nearly 30% from last year’s series premiere — and the show lost its much-hyped ratings war with NBC’s rival singing series, The Voice.
The X Factor’s second season premiere averaged 8.5 million viewers — about 3 million less than The Voice. Just last week, a livid Cowell, Factor’s show’s creator and executive producer, hit the roof when Peacock brass announced that it would be adding a third night to The Voice’s Season 3 premiere, with an episode airing Wednesday against X Factor.
“These guys have really got it in for us. It’s nothing short of dirty tricks,” Simon snorted. “The reason they’ve done this is they don’t want people to see X Factor because they’ve heard how good the series is. They don’t want their audience to see Britney Spears. They don’t want their audience to see Demi Lovato.”
The revamped series retained the (ahem) “talents” of Spears and troubled former Disney darling Demi Lovato after season one judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger were axed from the panel following a critically-panned inaugural season.