In a major new interview for Radio Times magazine published today, Simon Cowell has admitted that falling ratings mean viewers are falling out of love with The X Factor – and that in response, he’s making changes to the show.
“The format is ten years old and any format that has lasted that long, if you want the figures to have a chance of going up, you have to change the format, because the inevitable result is if you don’t, they will go down,” Cowell said, in an interview conducted for Radio Times by Newsnight host Emily Maitlis.
Cowell said he intended to change “every aspect of the show in some particular way. It will look like a slightly different show to one you have seen before.”
Although the TV mogul complained that the media over-reacts to any of his shows losing viewers – “I’ve had times where numbers have gone down by one per cent and the headline is ‘X Factor figures down’” – he said dwindling figures for The X Factor concern him.
“When the numbers go down, regardless of the excuses people come up with – time-shifting or whatever – for me it’s that they don’t like the show as much as they did. My job is to try and make the show better than it was two or three years ago.”
Cowell said the basic format of the show will not change, although the audition rooms – replaced in recent series by public auditions at large arenas – will return in some form.
He also confirmed that Tulisa Contostavlos will not return as a judge. Cowell stayed tight-lipped on who the new recruit might be – but said he or she constituted a gamble.
For much more from Simon Cowell – including why he’s so friendly with his exes, why his mum and dad are such an influence on him, why he doesn’t care if people think he’s gay and how he fell in love with Cheryl Cole – see the new issue of Radio Times magazine, in shops today.