Although there’s been a lot written and said about how “The X Factor” U.S. did not meet high expectations for its ratings, the show’s first season still had some significant ratings achievements for Fox, the TV network that televises the show in the U.S.
As I’ve reported in this column several times, “The X Factor” U.S. was frequently No. 1 in its time slot among 18-to-49-year-olds, which is the most coveted demographic for advertisers.
In an article published on January 11, 2012, Broadcasting & Cable pointed out some of the show’s ratings disappointments and achievements. Broadcasting & Cable’s article analyzed the ratings for the show’s first season, which aired from September to December 2011. Here are excerpts from the article:
- Fox’s ‘The X Factor’ under-delivered the audience the network guaranteed to advertisers in the upfront by 40%. And yet, despite that number, the show was still one of the most successful new series on television this season, and brought good value to both advertisers and the network.
- It increased Fox’s average ratings on Wednesday and Thursday nights by 48% and 46%, respectively, over the previous year.
- It was the second highest-rated new show in primetime among teens.
- The X Factor was among the Top 5 most watched new shows among ethnic minorities, and was the No. 1 show overall among African-American adults 18-49.
- On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the series rated second- and third-highest, respectively, among new shows this season for Hispanic viewers 18-49.
The show’s executive producer/judge Simon Cowell told the media before “The X Factor” U.S. premiered that he would consider it a “failure” if the show did not get 20 million U.S. viewers per episode. (“American Idol,” which has been the No. 1 TV series in the U.S. for the past several years, averages about 23 million U.S. viewers per episode.) Cowell later admitted that he was over-confident in his ratings predictions for “The X Factor” U.S.
In the end, the first season of “The X Factor” U.S. had an average of 12 million U.S. viewers per episode, and the show was usually No. 3 or No. 4 for total U.S. viewers each night that an episode was televised. In other words, the show’s first season was not a ratings blockbuster, but it was not a total flop either.
“The X Factor” U.S. executives have said in interviews that they aim to improve the show’s ratings and that there will be big changes on the show in 2012 in an effort to increase the ratings.
Many people have predicted that as part of those changes, “The X Factor” U.S. host Steve Jones and “The X Factor” U.S. judge Nicole Scherzinger will be replaced, since they have been very unpopular with “X Factor” viewers. Cowell, L.A. Reid and Paula Abdul are widely expected to continue as judges on the show in 2012.