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'X Factor (US)' Posts Underwhelming Ratings, FOX's Mike Darnell Still 'Relieved'

September 23, 2011, 4:15 am GMT

While Simon Cowell had expected it to average 20 million viewers, the premiere episode of the singing competiton's U.S. version only attracted 12.5 million viewers.



Highly-promoted new reality show "The X Factor (US)" failed to deliver excellent ratings. The premiere episode which aired Wednesday, September 21 on FOX only drew 12.5 million viewers and 8.7 household rating, with a 4.4 rating in 18-49 demo.

Posting far below the expected 20 million viewer rating, the singing competition created by Simon Cowell only garnered audience less than a half of the number "American Idol" season 10 premiere earned in January (26.2 million, 9.7 in demo). The British music mogul previously revealed his goal to beat "Idol" with such huge tally, admitting that anything below 20 million viewers would be a "disappointment."

However, FOX's reality chief Mike Darnell thought otherwise, saying that he is pleased with the result. "Simon's showmanship, something you've got to love him for," he began addressing Cowell's unachieved goal, before adding, "We lived with the reality that there is an enormous interest in every show during premiere week, and honestly, we're just relieved this morning. Other than crazy expectations, this is a very good premiere."

Darnell predicted the second night of "X Factor" would be down a bit in ratings considering the tough premiere Thursday competition, but "next week it becomes a little easier." He went on sharing, "Hopefully, like many reality shows do during their run, I think 'X Factor' has a real shot at building (in the ratings)."

For comparison, another fresh reality singing competition on NBC "The Voice" posted 11.8 million viewers and a 5.1 rating when it was debuted last April. Darnell refused to talk about the higher premiere rating of "Voice", but Deadline learned that FOX reasoned "because of 'Idol', there is a built-in appetite for singing competitions in midseason that might have helped 'The Voice'."

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