Fox gives The X Factor USA a second season

The American version of Simon Cowell's talent show is recommissioned halfway through its first run

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Simon Cowell’s American version of The X Factor is to return next year for a second series on US channel Fox TV.

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“I am absolutely thrilled with the news,” said Simon Cowell. “I have loved making the show and I want to thank Fox, our sponsors and, most importantly, the fans for supporting The X Factor.”

Cowell had originally said that the show would be a failure if it got ratings below 20 million. The opening episode managed 12.4m and he commented then that: “the worst thing was in the second day because if you have a 30 or a 40 per cent drop off, you’re dead. That is when I was tense.”

Fox says the show averages 13 million viewers per episode but is concentrating instead on how it is outdoing audience figures for its rivals, claiming that it enjoys more than a third more viewers than Dancing with the Stars (the US version of Strictly Come Dancing).

“The X Factor is a monumental success,” said  Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment at Fox. “The talent is phenomenal, the live shows are spectacular and picking it up [for a second series] is a complete no-brainer. Simon and his team have done an incredible job with the show.”

Cowell left the UK version of the show for the first time this year to front the American format alongside Nicole Scherzinger, LA Reid and Paula Abdul.  For a short time, former UK judge Cheryl Cole worked on the programme, but was replaced by Scherzinger during the audition stages.  

The British version of The X Factor, which now features Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland, Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos as judges, has so far failed to deliver the astronomical ratings that it saw last year,  recently falling behind BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing on average viewers. 

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It has been rumoured that Cowell could return to the British show in 2012, but with a second series of The X Factor USA on the cards, it now seems increasingly unlikely.