Simon Cowell format fans will be treated to a double header of Saturday night fun next week as both The X Factor and Red or Black? return to ITV1 on 18 August.
Series nine of The X Factor will begin its auditions with a 75-minute show starting at 8pm. The latest run of the talent show will see the return of three of last year’s judges – Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Louis Walsh – as well as the introduction of former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, who replaces Kelly Rowland on the panel.
The early rounds of auditions will feature several guest judges, including Geri Halliwell, Leona Lewis and Melanie Brown, who all stood in before Scherzinger was appointed.
Dermot O’Leary will reprise his role as host of the show, and both Olly Murs and Caroline Flack will return to The Xtra Factor on ITV2, although Murs will only be present full time once the live shows begin due to prior tour commitments in the United States.
The X Factor will be sandwiched between a second – and heavily revamped – series of controversial high concept game show Red or Black?
The Ant and Dec vehicle, which sees contestants “bet” on one of two outcomes, red or black, through a series of increasingly elaborate challenges, first aired every night for a week in September 2011. Culminating in a £1m all or nothing spin on live TV, the show began with good ratings, beating Doctor Who for viewers on its first outing.
However, after the revelation that the first winner, Nathan Hageman, held a criminal record for an attack on a young woman, the programme’s fortunes rapidly began to change as viewing figures fell away and interest in the show’s repetitive format began to wain. By the end of the first series, Red or Black was unable to beat BBC consumer affairs programme Watchdog in the ratings.
The new series will begin with a 45-minute episode at 7:15pm and continue for a further three quarters of an hour of non-gambling fun from 9:15pm on ITV1.
Red or Black? will be subject to a number of changes for its second series. These are thought to include a reduction in the prize money from £1m an episode to a £500,000 rollover, the replacement of the roulette wheel end game, and removal of live elements in the show.
However, with controversy over Wonga.com’s sponsorship of the new run erupting before the first episode has aired, it remains to be seen if the changes – and Red or Black?’s prime position on either side of the ever-popular X Factor – will be enough to ensure people return to the much-maligned show.